Zara offers striped Star of David shirt
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Zara offers striped Star of David shirt

The Spanish low fashion chain’s new ‘sheriff’ shirt has distinct Holocaust echoes

Amanda Borschel-Dan is The Times of Israel's Jewish World and Archaeology editor.

International fashion chain Zara's new 'sheriff' shirt. (screenshot)
International fashion chain Zara's new 'sheriff' shirt. (screenshot)

For only NIS 80 ($23), your little tyke can have that fashion forward fresh-from-the-concentration-camp look now on sale at international chain Zara.

The children’s 65% cotton, 35% polyester white shirt with dark horizontal stripes sports a fetching yellow Star of David badge on its left breast. It’s called the “sheriff,” and a closer look reveals that the word is indeed lightly etched upon the badge.

On social media giant Reddit, one commentor wrote, “it looks like the uniform jewish people were forced [to wear] during the holocaust. probably not intentional but a very clumsy move, especially for an European firm.” Another bluntly said, “Idiot…someone obviously didn’t pay attention in school.”

According to website 972mag.com, the shirt is produced in Turkey and is available in Zara’s Israeli, French, Albanian and Swedish online stores. Due to public pressure, it’s been removed from the chain’s UK stores.

Zara, founded in 1975 in Spain, now has some 5,500 stores worldwide. It famously promotes the concept of “fast fashion” and reportedly can produce new styles in two weeks, as opposed to the six-month average among its competitors.

One has to wonder if maybe in this case it pulled the trigger too soon.

From the Depths takes to Twitter to condemn Zara's new baby shirt. (courtesy)
From the Depths takes to Twitter to condemn Zara’s new baby shirt. (courtesy)

Jewish organizations took note of the “campy” look.

From the Depths, a nonprofit that works to preserve unmarked graves and repurposed gravestones of Jews killed in Poland, posted a condemnation of the chain on Twitter and sent the company a strongly worded letter and subsequently spoke to the management by phone.

In the phone conversation, From the Depths head Jonny Daniels was promised that sale of the shirt would end immediately.

This is 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.

Israeli business daily Globes reports Zara has removed the sheriff shirt stock from its warehouses and plans to destroy it. According to JTA, the shirt remained on the Zara Israel internet site as of early Wednesday afternoon.

“We express our sincere apologies for any hurt to our customers’ feelings,” the company said in a statement.

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