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Call for Europe-wide swastika ban

BBC, UK
Jan. 16, 2005
news.bbc.co.uk

ReligionNewsBlog.com • Sunday January 16, 2005

German politicians have called for Nazi symbols to be banned throughout Europe after Prince Harry was pictured wearing a swastika to a fancy dress party.

The Liberal group in the European Parliament says all of Europe suffered because of the crimes of the Nazis, so there should be a continent-wide ban.

A senior Christian Democrat said the proposal may be discussed at the next meeting of European justice ministers.

The symbols are already banned under German law.

The Holocaust

The Nazis’ final assault on the Jews from 1933-1945

Estimated 15m civilians killed by regime

6m Jews murdered

1942: Gas chambers built at Birkenau concentration camp, mass transports begin

Majority who arrive gassed immediately

About 900,000 gassed at Birkenau

1.1m died at Auschwitz-Birkenau and its sub-camps

1m of them were Jewish

- Source: BBC

The photograph of Harry in a costume with a Nazi swastika armband was taken at a friend’s birthday party in Wiltshire last weekend.

Vice-president of the Christian Democratic parliamentary group Wolfgang Bosback said the outfit “really lacked taste”.

He said it was possible European justice ministers would discuss bringing in a European prohibition on displaying the swastika and other Nazi signs.

Liberal group vice-president Silvana Koch-Merin said: “All of Europe has suffered in the past because of the crimes of the Nazis, therefore it would be logical for Nazi symbols to be banned all over Europe.”

She also called for the question to be placed on the agenda at the next meeting of justice ministers.

The vice-president of the parliamentary Social Democratic group, Michael Mueller, said a study was needed to find out how a German-style anti-Nazi law could be applied to the rest of Europe.

Apologising in a statement on Wednesday, the prince said: “I am very sorry if I caused any offence or embarrassment to anyone. It was a poor choice of costume and I apologise.”

On Friday, Prince Harry received the public backing of his aunt, Sarah Ferguson.

The Duchess of York told BBC Radio 4′s Today programme: “Harry is a fine young man. He needs to be supported now.

“It is time for the press to back off.”

The leader of the UK Conservative Party, Michael Howard, and the Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy have led calls for a personal public apology, and the Prince has also been criticised by foreign politicians.

Veteran forces sweetheart Vera Lynn has added her voice to calls for him to visit a former death camp.

Some critics have said the prince should join a British delegation which is visiting the Auschwitz death camp for the 60th anniversary of its liberation later this month.

The UK’s Ministry of Defence has said the incident will not affect Prince Harry’s place at Sandhurst military academy.

It is the latest in a series of stories involving Prince Harry – who is third in line to the British throne – which have earned him a media reputation as the “party prince”.

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