Northern Ireland news

Mother shocked by Nazi swastika sticker in window of Bangor toy shop

The sticker was part of a new window display at Crumtons toy shop in the centre of Bangor

A MOTHER who complained about a Nazi swastika sticker in the window of a toy shop was told by the owner to "avoid it" if she was offended.

The sticker was part of a new window display at Crumtons toy shop in the centre of Bangor, Co Down which depicted models of Nazi Germany's Afrika Korps by the brand Cobi.

Commanded by Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, the German expeditionary force fought a running battle with British forces across north Africa during World War II.

It's black and white seal was a swastika in front of a palm tree and it is emblazoned on the sticker in the shop window.

Keiva Troupé, who has a one-year-old and nine-year-old and two stepchildren, lives close to the Abbey Street store and says she walks past it with her children every day.

"It always has window displays with toys set up and looks really great," she said.

"But yesterday the sticker caught my eye straight away."

Ms Troupé said she had been shocked to see the symbol featured prominently "beside a bus station where schoolchildren get buses".

"I thought I must be getting this wrong, am I crazy here? I must be missing something. I took a photograph and went home to look it up to see if there is some symbolism other than what I thought it to be, but it was clearly a Nazi swastika.

"I contacted the shop owner last night and said I was shocked by it, would he be able to give me some sort of explanation, that to me it was anti-Semitic."

In the response seen by the Irish News, the owner explained he is a "keen modeller" and insisted it was the Afrika Korps symbol and "there is no hate intended".

He told Ms Troupé he was "not going to get drawn into the politics otherwise every military symbol from all countries would need to be removed" and Hollywood films and TV shows continue to be made featuring the symbols.

He said if she and her children were offended he was "deeply sorry", but "something will always offend someone at sometimes".

The message concluded by telling her that the display "will be changing soon if you care to avoid it until then".

North Down MP Stephen Farry, whose constituency office is on the same street, said he had spoken to the owner "in response to this being raised with me by constituents".

"I don't believe that he is a racist or is seeking to offend," he said.

"However, this is a symbol of the German Afrika Korps from the Second World War that does incorporate a Nazi Swastika. It is therefore offensive. And to put this in context, in a number of European countries it is illegal to display the Swastika symbol outside some very limited prescribed situations.

"I have suggested to the owner that this is not required to market his products. I want to give him space to reflect on this and do the right thing. If not addressed, we will refer this to the relevant authorities."

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