Swedish store pulls ‘Nazi’ toy soldiers
Don't mention the warDon't mention the war

Swedish store pulls ‘Nazi’ toy soldiers

Customers offended by miniature figurines wearing German uniforms, including some that look like SS

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Toy WWII German soldiers from toy maker Cobi (screen capture: Cobi)
Toy WWII German soldiers from toy maker Cobi (screen capture: Cobi)

A Swedish department store said that it would remove toy World War II German soldiers from its shelves after customers complained that some of them appeared to be wearing SS uniforms.

The Gekas store in Ullared said that it would clear out the miniature figurines, which are manufactured by toy-maker Cobi.

“This is not something we want to promote as form of ideal,” said Gekas CEO Boris Lennerhov, according to a report last week in The Local, an English-language website based reporting news from Sweden.

Cobi has a line of toys that depict soldiers and equipment from both sides of the conflict during World War II.

Shoppers were reportedly offended after seeing the Germany army symbols on military equipment and tanks crewed by smiling “Nazi” soldiers.

In October Jewish-owned, Barcelona-based fashion chain Mango came under scrutiny for selling a blouse sporting a lighting-bolt motif that some said closely resembled the SS insignia.

According to Israeli daily Haaretz, some consumers dubbed the blouse “the SS shirt,” “the Eva Braun Collection” or simply “Nazi chic.” Some drew links between the name of the shirt, which features the German word for lightning, “blitz,” and the Nazis’ “blitzkrieg,” or “lightning war,” speed warfare tactic.

In August, Zara angered consumers by offering an NIS 80 ($23) children’s white shirt that featured dark horizontal stripes — and a fetching yellow Star of David badge on its left breast.

It was called the “sheriff,” and a closer look revealed that the word was indeed lightly etched upon the yellow badge however many saw it as being too reminiscent of the striped uniforms that Holocaust concentration camp victims were forced to wear.

Due to public pressure, the shirt was removed from the chain’s UK stores. Israeli business daily Globes reported that Zara had removed the sheriff shirt stock from its warehouses and planned to destroy it.

It was not Zara’s first brush with inappropriate and potentially anti-Semitic styles. In a widely reported incident dating back to September 2007, the company faced pushback from the UK Jewish community for purses decorated with Nazi swastikas. In this case too, it pulled the offending stock.

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