Furor over Nazi Banner Used in Documentary

Outrage and chaos consumed the streets of Nice, France over the weekend as an enormous Nazi banner was unveiled on the side of a government building.

Andrew Gentry, who was travelling through Nice at the time, reported to local media that residents were outraged when they saw the banner being unfurled on the facade of the Palais de la Prefecture.

“People started screaming… they were really agitated,” Andrew said as he spoke with BBC News. “There was nothing around to explain what was going on. The scene was just surreal.”

The towering red banner, complete with a Nazi emblem, adorned the Palace in preparation for the filming of Joseph Joffo’s memoir A Bag of Marbles, which documents the life of a child brought up during the Holocaust.

It is a move that the local community has criticized as being completely thoughtless, as the city of Nice was a safe haven for thousands of Jewish people seeking refuge from the Nazi campaign, before it was overrun German military and the refugees exiled to concentration camps.

But The Palais de la Prefecture defended its decision to permit Nazi paraphernalia to be hung from its building, insisting it had notified the local community regarding the plans. The Palais de la Prefecture issued a press-release confirming that they had contacted the Jewish population of Nice, and that we all have a “duty to remember” the atrocities committed by the Nazi Occupation.

The Prefecture will represent Nice’s Excelsior hotel as it was in 1943, for its part in the filming of director Christian Dugay’s World War 2 movie Le sac de Billes. The film will tell the story of  SS captain Alois Brunner, one of the most notorious Nazi war criminals, who stands charged of deporting over 128,000 Jewish people to death camps throughout the war, The Telegraph reports.

After Italy agreed to an unconditional cease-fire with the Allies, SS captain Alois Brunner moved to hotel Excelsior and established his home and headquarters there.  For his crimes against humanity Brunner was sentenced to death in absentia in 1954, and is reported to have died while in the Syrian Arab Republic in 2010.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE