East Lancs railway wartime weekend gets bad press

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Tin Rocket

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Read in the daily mail today (not purchased by myself but was reading online) an article that was giving the wartime weekend a kicking because two lads dressed up as Hitler and Goering and that a jewish couple were asked to dress in outfits with the star of david sewn on and asked to carry battered luggage,i presume they were after making the "just arrived at labour camp after many hours on the train" impression,is this the point of a re-enacment,seems like a typical daily mail over reaction,has anyone got first hand info/gen?
 
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wijit

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I don't see a major issue with people dressing up in German uniforms. The Hitler/Goering thing is pushing it a bit but if it is true that anybody (let alone a Jewish couple) were asked to do as mentioned then that is absolutely disgusting.
How that can possibly be a "typical Daily mail over reaction" is beyond me.
In spite of this, I would cast a suspicious eye over the story as a whole until there is more evidence as to the authenticity of all details.
 

LE Greys

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There have been rows about this before, in fact I thought that the HRA had decided to stick to genuine and relevant wartime operations for railways in Britain (in other words, no German uniforms allowed) to avoid it getting out of hand.

And should this not really be in the Preservation and Heritage forum?
 

chris89

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I haven't read the article but may have a look.

The SVR (Severn Valley Railway) Has some very strict rules for German uniforms. Normally being so No SS (Including uniform details), Gestapo, Swastika Flags/ Arm Bands (On all Uniforms) and finially dressing as people such as Hitler, Goering and so on. If they are they will be rejected from any railway property.

If it is fully true it is completely and utterly disgusting and can't see how a Preserved Railway would allow people dressed as Hitler or Goering amazes me.

People who want to dress in the normal German Army, Navy or Luftwaffer uniforms don't bother me (On games such as IL2, Silent Hunter i normally get Swastika mods for Realism purposes)

Edit:

Come as you are or in the costume of the period but, with sensitivity for those with difficult memories, please note that Nazi and SS uniforms, red swastika armbands and portrayals of Adolf Hitler are NOT permitted. The carrying of firearms, replica or deactivated, is not allowed at the Severn Valley Railway unless authorised by the event organisers.

From the SVR site for the Events at end of this month/ Early next. Although the SVR does do battle re-enactment scenes at Highley so can't be a complete uniform ban for that though.

Chris
 
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SS4

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Assuming it's true which is not a safe assumption from the Daily Mail - the irony is of course that this was an establishment supporting the NSDAP once upon a time (Goering I can understand more than Hitler as the former was a fighter ace in WWI)

Re: the Jewish couple. It's certainly insensitive but it's not like this sort of thing didn't happen.
 

ralphchadkirk

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Here's the article:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...ts-play-parts-Hitler-Goering-SS-officers.html

Personally I think these events should be realistic, and therefore no Nazi uniforms would be seen. Whilst I would be unhappy at Nazi army uniforms being portrayed, I am disgusted that people would turn up dressed in SS uniforms or as Goering/Rommel/Hitler etc.

I'm all for re-enactment events, and teaching people military history but respect is needed.
 

SS4

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It of course depends on exactly what you want your event to show. If it was the Dunkirk spirit or how Britain's railways operated during the war then it's fine to ban SS.

If it's generic WWII then you can hardly ban them as these things did happen during the war and to ban it would be like when we banned the Poles from the victory parade lest we offended Stalin.

It appears they were banned so what were they meant to do?

That's enough from me before I get an irony overlord
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
As one comment said
Very distasteful. However, it should be noted that the three men dressed in German uniforms are not in fact wearing any Nazi regalia as specified in the letter from the Railway company and this I fear is how they got around the ban. They are dressed in Luftwaffe uniforms and not SS uniforms.

I'd have been far more concerned if someone turned up as Heydrich or Himmler...
 
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Aren't they happy enough playing at railways let alone playing at soldiers? Those that could did.
Those that couldn't or didn't just talk and play at it.
 

Tin Rocket

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I don't see a major issue with people dressing up in German uniforms. The Hitler/Goering thing is pushing it a bit but if it is true that anybody (let alone a Jewish couple) were asked to do as mentioned then that is absolutely disgusting.
How that can possibly be a "typical Daily mail over reaction" is beyond me.
In spite of this, I would cast a suspicious eye over the story as a whole until there is more evidence as to the authenticity of all details.

A report in a national newspaper about a few lads wearing uniforms from 70 years ago at a re-enacment of wartime conditions seems a tad over the top.
 

150222

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I don't see a problem. The only problem I see is that Heinrich Himmler wouldn't be on a British train!
 

The 375 King

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Here's the article:
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/art...ts-play-parts-Hitler-Goering-SS-officers.html

Personally I think these events should be realistic, and therefore no Nazi uniforms would be seen. Whilst I would be unhappy at Nazi army uniforms being portrayed, I am disgusted that people would turn up dressed in SS uniforms or as Goering/Rommel/Hitler etc.

I'm all for re-enactment events, and teaching people military history but respect is needed.



I thought the picture of the red mk2 with the fat RPOs was rather good.
 

hairyhandedfool

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As true of most DM articles IMO, this looks to be full of misdirection to cook up a bigger story.

"....Before the event, bosses at the East Lancashire Railway said that anyone wearing SS uniforms or insignia would be asked to leave or remove offending items, but the standard Wehrmacht uniform of the common German soldier would be allowed.

Mr Paul, of Broughton, Salford, said he saw people flouting the ban by wearing SS uniforms while drinking outside a pub near one railway station...."

So when not on the railway station they should be dealt with by the railway's staff? I'm not sure they have that authority! Perhaps they had just been ejected from the railway station and went to the pub? Or maybe they hadn't got to the station yet?

"A number of visitors were asked at random if they would consider dressing as refugees – but several were Jewish. Among them were Merton Paul, 65, and his wife Barbara, who said they were approached by a re-enactment member and asked to wear refugee outfits to ‘add another dimension to the experience’...."

There is no mention of who the "re-enactment member" was, nor there association (or lack there of) to the railway, yet it is the railway that is being damned for it.

"Sick tribute: Many of the visitors dressed up as Nazi officers for the Wartime Weekend, with these two appearing to have come as Hermann Goring and Adolf Hitler"

Note: Appearing to have come as.

"This man appeared to have come dressed as Goring wearing the peaked officer's cap of the Luftwaffe"

"Flouting the ban: An eagle perched on a swastika was the symbol of the Luftwaffe"

AFAIK, the Luftwaffe uniform was not on the banned list, it doesn't appear to be in the list the DM put up in their article.

"One man's an armband identified him as playing the part of Hermann Goering"

An armband indentified him as playing a part? or is he just "appearing to have come as"?

This story has presumably been picked up from the Manchester Evening News which says....

"British Jew Merton Paul, who went to the festival with wife Barbara, spoke of his anger at being asked to dress like a refugee. The request was made by an participant - not connected the the ELR - at last year's event.

Mr Paul said: “It was an innocent question but of course we wouldn’t want to do that. No Jewish person would.”"

So were they were asked at the weekend or at last year's event? Note how the person who asked was not connected to the railway either.

But they do note that....

"One couple told today how they were asked by a festival ‘actor’ to consider dressing up as persecuted refugees for this year’s event – wearing a yellow Star of David, carrying battered suitcases and ‘looking poor’."

So presumably someone else was asked? Or are they confusing their own story?

It really does seem like a non-story to me.
 

blacknight

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Might I suggest that for for future WW11 events those wishing to play on German side start wearing Polish uniforms over their German uniforms;). How far do you take a banning order on wearing of WW11 German uniforms go before you start rewritting history? Should a series like Allo Allo also be erased from history & cast banned from making further public appearances, that even featured actor playing member of Gestapo for laughs on prime time TV.
 
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Xenophon PCDGS

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Schnellzug

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These kind of things always seem in rather dubious taste to me. Anyway, surely they couldn't possibly have any historical accuracy from the simple fact that the the locomotive liveries, and nearly all the rolling stock, are almost always post-war? That's not just the kind of thing only a trainspotter would notice, because a loco with BR lion & wheel and maroon mk 1s (and Mk 2s even more) are surely obviously anachronistic. The concept of re-enactments, when done properly, can perform a useful educational role, with completely accurate uniforms, equipment, vehicles & so on, but so often these "War on the line Weekends" see a mixing together of uniforms and forces that would never possibly ever be seen together.
 

Phil6219

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It's all just a bit of fun which sadly over the past few years has been tarnished thanks to a number of people & groups;
* The trouble causers (who go specifically to cause offence)
* The likes of the daily mail brigade
* The overly sensitive (I DON'T mean anyone who is/was affected by the war but the likes of people who complain easily mostly for the sake of complaining and the attention it brings them & maybe because they like the pleasure of ruining things for the others.

There was never a problem with the likes of proper Axis uniforms until a few years ago, then again nobody was ever stupid enough to turn up as Hitler, Goering, Himmler or the such.

It is worth reiterating the point which is that it is supposed to be a good natured event which takes place over a weekend, where people can come and have fun & learn new things and enjoy the atmosphere (the live music etc...). I should point out that it is an important source of revenue for the railway too.

* once again please don't misinterpret my remarks above, I'm referring to those people who complain for the sake of it...

Phil 8-)
 

sonorguy

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As true of most DM articles IMO, this looks to be full of misdirection to cook up a bigger story.

"One man's an armband identified him as playing the part of Hermann Goering"

An armband indentified him as playing a part? or is he just "appearing to have come as"?

It really does seem like a non-story to me.

If you look at the armband in the close-up pic it clearly says 'Hermann Goering'. I don't think there's any doubt who these two came dressed as.
 

neilmc

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If you could rustle me up a Class 50 or 52 Kriegslok, a Pflammkuchen and a few bottles of dunkel bier I'd put up with a few swastikas.
 

Mutant Lemming

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I would think it is more the motive behind somone wanting to dress as Hermann Göring. If it was an attempt at humour it may not have been in the best of taste although using the Nazis for humour worked well for Mel Brooks (search for 'Springtime' in Wiki and what is one of the first lines that appear....)
As pointed out though, it would be inaccurate to have German troops on a British railway re-enactment, let alone have Hermann Göring swanning around.
For accuracy he should try Darmstadt-Kranichstein - would be interesting to see the response of press and locals there should someone turn up as Göring to add 'authenticity' to the general ambience.
 

Cyberbeagle

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Hmmmm... a lot of dismissing the story going on here. Just because it's in the Daily Mail doesn't take away from the fact that members of the public were (rightly in my view) offended by what happened.

I organised our Railways at War event and I would not have ANYONE in any German uniform other than a bog-standard standard Wehrmacht uniform. Fortunately the re-enactment group we work with agrees and it's their policy. You do need Germans if you're to have a shoot-out, as we did. The premise we had last Sunday being that German paratroopers had landed and were attempting to blow up the signal cabin. Really well done and gives a reason for them being there.

I remember going to an event at Embsay Railway and meeting two people dressed in SS uniforms - I was quite taken aback and couldn't for the life of me figure out why anyone would want to dress up in SS uniform, given what they represent. This was a view echoed by one of our re-enactors. Not blaming East Lancs, who have clear rules, or any other railway, but rather the re-enactors for chosing to dress as they do.

It's not airbrushing history, it's reflecting the sensitivities of the fare-paying public. But suppose when we have to deal in NI with a situation were people may take offense at people portraying BRITISH soldiers, which I fundamental disagree with, maybe I'm just more sensitive to these things.

Better to play safe than get headlines like this.
 

Schnellzug

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Hmmmm... a lot of dismissing the story going on here. Just because it's in the Daily Mail doesn't take away from the fact that members of the public were (rightly in my view) offended by what happened.

I organised our Railways at War event and I would not have ANYONE in any German uniform other than a bog-standard standard Wehrmacht uniform. Fortunately the re-enactment group we work with agrees and it's their policy. You do need Germans if you're to have a shoot-out, as we did. The premise we had last Sunday being that German paratroopers had landed and were attempting to blow up the signal cabin. Really well done and gives a reason for them being there.

I remember going to an event at Embsay Railway and meeting two people dressed in SS uniforms - I was quite taken aback and couldn't for the life of me figure out why anyone would want to dress up in SS uniform, given what they represent. This was a view echoed by one of our re-enactors. .

Might it not be the case, though, quite legitimately, that Waffen SS units might be part of the spearhead of any offensive? They were after all always in the front line wherever the fighting was thickest. It would be quite legitimate to have them in an authentic scenario.

One thing that does seem frankly silly to me, concerning this general subject, is the way that people are so anxious to emphasise "We insist they no Nazi insignia is displayed", or something to that effect. Does that mean that the swastika in the eagle insignia on uniforms has to be carefully removed? That no authentic 1933-45 era German flags can be displayed? All that is airbrushing history, surely.
 

The Decapod

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Perhaps the question raised here is 'when would it be acceptable for people to wear Nazi uniforms in Britain in 2012?'

I think people should not be permitted to wear uniforms displaying Nazi insignia in public EXCEPT as part of a serious display or re-enactment. They should have to remove the insignia (swastikas etc.) and, ideally, change out of the uniform completely, when mingling with the general public.

As for a typical railway style WW2 event, perhaps the only Nazi uniform that might be 'in-theme' would be that of a shot-down airman, being escorted at gunpoint by the Home Guard, of course !!!
 

PFX

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It's all just a bit of fun which sadly over the past few years has been tarnished thanks to a number of people & groups;
* The trouble causers (who go specifically to cause offence)
* The likes of the daily mail brigade
* The overly sensitive

This is the most sense that's been said about the whole thing and basically sums up all that needs to be said.
 

4SRKT

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Maybe these nazi-dressers-up should go to the Diesel Gala rather than the wartime weekend. They'd certainly be good at flailing.
 
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