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Belgian supermarket chain recalls Nazi prisoner costume

(JTA) — A Belgian supermarket chain has recalled a costume that is meant to allow children to dress up as prisoners of a Nazi concentration camp.

The recall was announced Friday by the Delhaize chain in a news release it issued conjointly with the Belgian League against Anti-Semitism, or LBCA.

“Delhaize deplores this incident and regrets that it offended certain individuals,” the statement read. “Delhaize will put in place procedures of control” to prevent a recurrence of such cases.

Joel Rubinfeld, the LBCA’s president, said the costumes were offensive to Holocaust survivors and other victims of Nazi war crimes.

Rubinfeld  said the management at Delhaize, which has hundreds of stores across Belgium, told him it was not aware of the historical connotations of the costume, which it purchased from the Belgium sales representative of Funny Fashion, a U.S.-based company.

The Belgian subsidiary of Carrefour, a French supermarket chain, also bought costumes from Funny Fashion, Rubinfeld told JTA, adding that he is in contact with Carrefour to determine where they are sold and whether the firm would recall the costumes.

A picture of the costume was first published in the Belgian edition of the Elle fashion magazine on Thursday. It shows the packaging featuring a picture of a boy wearing a striped prisoner uniform and matching hat, but no yellow star.

The costume was put on sale ahead of  Carnival, a Christian holiday celebrated in Belgium and the Netherlands in parades that take place in February.

Last year, a Carnival float in the city of Aalst featured men dressed as Nazi officers holding canisters of Zyklon B, the name of the poison used to kill Jews at the Auschwitz concentration camp.

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