Auschwitz museum calls for British shop to remove Gestapo costume

Auschwitz museum calls for British fancy dress shop to remove German Gestapo costume from its website after branding it ‘disrespectful on so many levels’

  • Gestapo were official secret police of Nazi Germany and Nazi-occupied Europe  
  • Tweet read: ‘You really think that selling Gestapo officer costume is ok and fun?’
  • The Camden-based shop is selling costume online for £38.05 as a ‘hot promo’
  • People were divided in their reaction to it with some saying costume is historical 

A German Gestapo costume for sale online by a British fancy dress company was slammed by the Auschwitz-Birkenau memorial and museum. 

A tweet from the official account, which called the £38.05 costume ‘disrespectful on so many levels’, has divided opinion with some people saying the uniform is historically relevant while others said it was ‘disgraceful’ and ‘disgusting’. 

The Gestapo were the official secret police of Nazi Germany and Nazi-occupied Europe who played a key role in the extermination of Jews. 

The tweet from the Auschwitz-Birkenau museum and memorial called for removal of costume

The Gestapo officer costume being sold on Escapade which has faced calls to remove it 

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The tweet from the former concentration camp where over one million Jews were exterminated has called for the costume, included in the website’s “hot promo range”, to be discontinued. 

The costume, being sold for £38.05, is included in the website’s ‘hot promo range’

It read: ‘Dear @Escapade_UK. Do you really think that selling a Gestapo officer costume is ok and fun? Read more about an organization that symbolizes the organized terror of the Nazi state.’

The message included a link to further reading about the Gestapo before adding: ‘Please remove the item. It’s disrespectful on so many levels.’ 

Reacting to the tweet, most people tended to agree with the sentiment from the museum and memorial in Poland.  

Shona Bennet said: ‘Disgusting. What type of person wants to profit from selling Gestapo uniforms? It’s shameful.’

Matt Holub said: ‘please do the right thing and take it down.’

The Gestapo was created by Hermann Göring in 1933 and headed by Heinrich Himmler the year after. Birkenau was one of three Auschwitz camps and was the largest extermination camp (death camp) run by Nazi Germany during The Holocaust. 

Below the costume on the Escapade UK website, a ‘complete the look’ option offers a ‘Chaplin Moustache + Eyebrows’ for £1.49, alongside a toy gun. 

Some people leapt to the defence of the costume shop with its base in Camden, highlighting the subject of the costume’s historical importance and use in TV. 

Daniel Gamble said: ‘There are legitimate reasons for a costume such as this. Reinactments, plays, films, etc… sometimes you have to visualize the hateful to expose it for what it is. By hiding it, we hide the lesson as well.’

Most people seemed to think the costume is distasteful with Matt Holub calling for its removal 

‘They are used in movies, plays, etc. for drama & satire. E.g. ‘The Producers’ or Sarah Silverman on TV as Hitler. If the costumes should not be available then should the skits, movies, & plays w the costumes be banned or impossible?’ pointed out a user called Tinny Ray. 

A review of the costume on the Escapade website said it ‘looked good’ and was ‘easy to wear as long as you can take the stick.’  

In the listing for the costume, Escapade make reference to the Gestapo’s brutality and say the uniform is ‘one of the most recognizable anywhere in the world.’ 

Escapade fancy dress and party store in Camden, London. They are selling the costume online

Daniel Gamble and Tinny Ray pointed oit the use of the costumes in TV and stage dramas 

The costume is made by Northern Ireland-based Palmer Agency who have been contacted for comment alongside Escapade UK who were slammed in the tweet from Auschwitz-Birkenau museum.   

The Auschwitz-Birkenau museum and memorial and the Jewish Historical Society of England have been contacted for comment.

A buyer of the costume rated it four out of five stars on Camden-based Escapade’s website and said ‘it’s easy to wear if you can take the stick’.





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