France probes anti-Semitic shirt sales

Paris store reportedly sells shirts with Nazi slogans originally used to target Polish Jews in 1940.

lithuania anti-semitism  (photo credit: Courtesy)
lithuania anti-semitism
(photo credit: Courtesy)
French police have arrested the owner and an employee of a Paris store discovered to be selling T-shirts with anti-Semitic slogans. The store, located in the Belleville area of Paris, was selling T-shirts with printed slogans in German and Polish reproduced from 1940 anti-Semitic slogans, prohibiting the Jews of Lodz, in Poland, to enter the town's public park and saying: "Jews are forbidden from entering the park.". The National Bureau of Vigilance Against Anti-Semitism (BNVCA), a community organization that monitors anti-Semitic incidents in France, made the complaint to police after a journalist with news agency Agence France Press (AFP) found five of the grey, sleeveless T-shirts on sale in the store early on Tuesday. When the journalist returned shortly afterwards they had been removed. The store assistant said they had been bought by a single customer and that she did not know the meaning of the inscriptions. BNVCA president Sammy Ghozlan said the park reference was all the more disturbing as Jewish youths regularly complain of being targeted by anti-Semitic gangs in Belleville Park. He called for the store to be shut down and for the manufacturer, the importer and the wholesaler of the T-shirts to be arrested on the charge of "inciting to racial hatred by inscriptions with anti-Semitic character." In June, a kippa-wearing 17-year-old was attacked by a mob of African youths in the same district of Paris. The Belleville neighborhood of Paris has undergone many changes throughout the decades. While Armenians, Greeks and Ashkenazi Jews were once the predominant ethnic groups, North Africans, and more recently, sub-Saharan Africans are displacing other ethnic groups.