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British couple asked to dress as Shoah victims in war commemoration

(JTA) — A Jewish British couple was asked to consider dressing up as Holocaust victims to commemorate World War II during the annual Wartime Weekend event.

Merton and Barbara Paul said an organizer for the annual wartime weekend suggested that the couple wear a yellow Star of David and carry battered suitcases as part of the World War II commemoration, according to the Daily Telegraph. 

"It was an innocent question, but of course we wouldn’t want to do that. No Jewish person would," Merton Paul told the Telegraph. "It’s very upsetting to see people in these uniforms. It is completely disrespectful to the 6 million Jews and other people who were killed at the hands of the Nazis."    

Some of the 10,000 participants wore uniforms of the SS, even though they were officially banned, and one participant even impersonated Gestapo founder Hermann Goerring. Swastikas were on the approved list of accoutrements.

The event is run by the East Lancashire Railway, a preservation society.

The weekend also marked Queen Elizabeth’s 60th anniversary on the throne. Britain’s chief rabbi, Jonathan Sacks, drafted a special prayer for the honor that was recited in synagogues across the country. 

“Her spirit has helped make Britain the tolerant country it remains, and we are privileged to have been blessed by all she does and is,” said the prayer penned by Sacks.

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