Belgian Carnival Float Lampoons Leaders as Nazis
A float satirizing local politicians dressed as Nazis holding canisters of Zyklon B gas is to take part in a carnival parade in the Belgian city of Aalst.
The float, which also features a railway wagon and a political leader dressed as Hitler, was featured on the Facebook page of a group called FTP. The people on the wagon, who are to be dressed as SS officers, are meant to portray Flemish nationalists deporting French speakers from Flanders, the Flemish VTM network reported.
The procession is scheduled to take place on Feb. 10.
Belgium is a federal entity made up of three regions populated by two ethnic groups: Flemish people and Waloons, who speak French. Over the past two decades, some Flemish political parties have called for secession.
The spectacle is meant as a protest against the perceived anti-Waloon policies of some nationalist Flemish politicians. “This is our deportation wagon and we are going to deport anything French,” Jaques Jaquemin, one of the organizers, told the television station.
The float seeks to satirize leaders of the Flemish nationalist N-VA party, its leader Bart de Wever, and Aalst mayor Christoph D’Haese.
Doorbraak, a Flemish weekly, quotes Eli Ringer, honorary chairman of the Antwerp-based Forum of Jewish Organizations, as calling the float “disgusting,” adding: “This is a very painful trivializing of the Holocaust.”
And Michael Freilich, editor-in-chief of the Jewish Belgian monthly Joods Actueel, said the display “crossed a line.”