Yet revelries in Ramsbottom and Bury in Greater Manchester went sour when one man attending a local jubilee event was spotted impersonating Hermann Goering, founder of the Gestapo and one of the main architects of Nazi Germany.
The Daily Telegraph reported on Wednesday that others in the 10,000-strong crowd wore some of the insignia of Hitler’s most ruthless SS troops, the Schutzstaffel, Allgemeine SS and SS-Totenkopfverbände – the last of these responsible for Germany’s major concentration camps.
The 'Nazi soldiers'
Adding insult to injury, a Jewish couple who turned up expecting to enjoy afternoon English tea dances and a flyovert by a World War II Spitfire, claim they were asked to consider dressing up as Holocaust victims.
Merton and Barbara Paul said the reenactor who posed the question suggested they wear a yellow Star of David and carry battered suitcases so they could “look poor”.
Paul, 65, a retired dental surgery designer, said: “It was an innocent question but of course we wouldn't want to do that. No Jewish person would.
"It's very upsetting to see people in these uniforms. It is completely disrespectful to the six million Jews and other people who were killed at the hands of the Nazis."
According to the Telegraph, the "re-enactment" occurred as part of a '1940s Wartime Weekend', an annual event held by the East Lancashire Railway, which has courted controversy in previous years.
However, the paper reported that this year organizers thought they had done enough to dissuade participants from causing offence. They included a disclaimer on the railway’s website referred to banned uniforms and symbols and staff were actively checking costumes asking people to remove or conceal offending items.
Noa Rubinstein contributed to the report
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