Outlawed Nazi Uniforms Worn by Festival Patrons

Nazi uniforms are not allowed at the yearly 1940s Weekend, which is held in Haworth of West Yorkshire. The festival was a big draw for buffs of the Second World War, who found a great deal of the culture in which they were interested within the festival celebrations. There was, however, one major rule governing the festival, a rule which this year was boldly broken. This was that no Nazi uniforms were to be worn by attendees.

This was not simply a festival rule, but one which was heavily endorsed by the event’s vendors. Numerous stores and other such vendors exhibiting at the festival hung documentation to declare that anyone breaking the rule and wearing Nazi uniforms was not welcome by their establishment. This was necessary to enforcement of the policy, since there could not technically be an actual “rule” against any sort of clothing. The vendors and event coordinators simply hoped that their wishes would be respected, given the understandable nature of wishing to keep Third Reich memorabilia to a minimum.

Police officers also try to help encourage the policy, but cannot do much to make sure that it is respected. This is something of a problem, as people who have not respected the wishes of the festival have, in the past, caused great offense towards other patrons by wearing their Nazi uniforms. The aversion to the clothing stems largely from the number of Allied veterans who often attend the event, as well as other survivors who did not serve but have a problem with being reminded of the horrors they saw during the era, The Telegraph reports.

Turnout for the festival is generally pretty high. The 1940s Weekend usually sees close to or even over thirty thousand patrons annually. This year is particularly special, as it is the year in which veterans are to celebrate the seventieth anniversary of the Normandy invasion. Given the high casualties of the battle, the Nazi uniforms are deemed especially insensitive. Although they cannot technically be banned in the legal sense of the word, there is increased hope that those who usually don the costumes will choose to do otherwise this year.

As always, whether Nazi uniforms are present or not, a great deal of money from the event is going toward charitable causes to aid surviving veterans of the military. This is yet another reason that many would rather the costumes not be worn, as they might drive down business from other patrons who find the garb to be in poor taste. This year, if no Nazi uniforms are present, the 1940s Weekend may gain as much in pounds as it does in patrons, if not more.

Ian Harvey

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