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German military apologizes after sharing ‘retro’ photo of Nazi uniform

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The German military has apologized after sharing a photo of a Nazi uniform and referring to it as “retro.”

The Bundeswehr, the official name of the German armed forces, shared the photo of a Second World War-era Wehrmacht uniform with a swastika on Instagram stories on Wednesday.

In a screenshot of the since-deleted image, the grey suit is shown with the text, translated from German, reading: “Also #fashion is an aspect. To this day, there are military-style elements in Haute Couture.”

The uniform features a Nazi eagle, swastika insignia and two Iron Crosses bearing swastikas. One report states it was a prop from the 2008 film Valkyrie, which follows a team of Nazi officers planning to assassinate Adolf Hitler.

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The image was quickly removed after receiving outrage, prompting an apology.

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The Bundeswehr’s social media team took to Twitter to apologize, providing a reason for sharing the photo in the first place.

“The uniform is an exhibit in our Military History Museum in Dresden… we have not historically classified and also provided with a false and inappropriate caption,” the tweet reads. “The intention was to show a photo story of the influence of uniforms on fashion for centuries.”

It continues: “Extremism of any kind is an absolute No-Go in the Bundeswehr. We are now investigating what went wrong and how we can prevent it in the future. We are very sorry! We are working to regain the usual quality of our contributions.”

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Former NATO commander Gen Hans-Lothar Domröse decried the post as “just plain tasteless.”

Speaking to Bild newspaper, Cem Özdemir of the German Green party said: “A uniform with swastikas is never just fashion or ‘retro,’ but always a reminder of the crimes of the Nazi regime. The Bundeswehr must now very quickly clarify how it came to be posted.”

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While the uniform shown was worn by foot soldiers, the style was used by specialist sections for Panzer crew uniforms, and Waffen SS (the military branch of the Nazi Party’s SS organization) uniforms.

The Waffen SS was heavily involved in the Holocaust, participating in mass shootings, anti-partisan warfare and supplying guards for Nazi concentration camps.

meaghan.wray@globalnews.ca

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