‘Extremely disturbed’: US Jewish groups condemn Nazi Halloween costumes

Holiday incidents in New York City and Wisconsin spark outrage amid national concern over antisemitism

Luke Tress is a JTA reporter and a former editor and reporter in New York for The Times of Israel.

A man in a Nazi costume in New York City on October 29, 2022. (Screenshot/Twitter; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
A man in a Nazi costume in New York City on October 29, 2022. (Screenshot/Twitter; used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

NEW YORK — US Jewish groups condemned Nazi Halloween costumes on Monday after at least two incidents sparked outrage amid increasing concerns about antisemitism in the US.

In New York City, a man walked into a bar in full Nazi regalia and was ordered to leave by staff and patrons.

In a video of the incident, customers can be heard telling the man, “What is wrong with you?” “Get out of here,” and telling him to leave “for your own safety.”

Staff appears to refuse him service and order him out of the bar.

The Anti-Defamation League said it was “extremely disturbed” by the incident.

“This costume trivializes the Holocaust and is especially harmful during a time of increasing antisemitic incidents,” the ADL said.

Another Halloween-goer dressed as Adolf Hitler in Madison, Wisconsin, near the city’s public university.

The University of Wisconsin Hillel Foundation, the university’s Chabad center and the ADL called the incident “disturbing.”

“The glorification of hate, fascism and antisemitism is disgusting,” Hillel said.

The US Holocaust Museum said Monday, “It’s never ok to dress up as a Nazi.”

“As dangerous antisemitic incidents continue to rise, it is deeply disturbing to see reports of people glorifying this history by wearing Nazi costumes,” the museum said.

Kanye West’s repeated antisemitic tirades and other incidents in recent weeks have prompted a national conversation over antisemitism in the US.

In New York, the Nazi costume was one of several recent antisemitic incidents.

On Monday, New York State Governor Kathy Hochul, who is battling Republican Lee Zeldin to win over Jewish voters ahead of next week’s gubernatorial race, condemned antisemitic and homophobic graffiti at the Bronx’s Hostos College. The college is part of the City University of New York (CUNY) system, which has been under fire for antisemitism on its campuses.

A Chabad movement “Mitzvah Tank,” focused on Jewish outreach, was sprayed with the word “Palestine” in Manhattan over the weekend.

A truck painted with the antisemitic conspiracy message “Jews did 9/11” was seen on Long Island last week and an antisemitic banner was displayed in Yonkers.

Also last week, a group of assailants in Brooklyn shouted “Free Palestine” at a Jewish 15-year-old and pelted him with eggs. Police were investigating the case as a hate crime.

In the state capital Albany, police said they arrested a man for posting “stickers with antisemitic imagery” on the state university campus.

The New York Police Department has confirmed 195 antisemitic hate crimes in the city between the start of the year and September 30, representing an attack every 33 hours. Many more incidents likely go unreported.

Jews are consistently the group most targeted in hate crimes in the city on an annual basis, in per capita and absolute terms.

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