Five graduate students in the University of Baghdad Faculty of Medicine donned Nazi uniforms and posed for glamour shots in a bizarre incident.The photos came to light on Wednesday when they were published online by Shakwmakw, a local media group that is followed by three million people on Facebook, many of them in Iraq.The high-quality photos show the five graduate students in tan uniforms, tall black boots, and caps, posing among ruined buildings and trucks.
The men found matching swastika armbands and small swastika pins. In one photo a man sits on a truck, looking down pensively. In another, with a large Nazi flag, a man stares off into the distance. The men put work into making the outfits appear to fit with the Nazi-era Sturmabteilung or SA Brownshirts uniforms worn by Nazi paramilitary units after 1921. They even found proper black belts that also connected with a band over the shoulder. Hitler can be seen in a similar uniform shaking hands with Brownshirts during a Nazi Party rally in 1937.The photographer who originally placed the photos online later apologized in a message to her 100,000 Facebook followers and deleted the photos.“Good morning sweethearts,” she wrote on Wednesday. “I apologize for the post of the Nazis and have deleted it. The pictures were just pictures and not more, I didn’t mean anything more. Thank you for your comments.” She also noted that the German Embassy in Baghdad had contacted Facebook to complain about the photos. An inquiry to the photographer and the embassy were not returned as of press time.The photographer later apologized again on Facebook and said she is against extremism and the politics of Nazism and “anything that leads to war against people. I apologize for the problems caused.”Many of the hundreds who commented on the photos after they were posted by Shakwmakw on Facebook condemned the students for posing as Nazis.One man wrote that his mother had once refused to take a photo at a wax museum in Europe next to Hitler, because “he was a dictator, a tyrant and a criminal.” He said the photographer takes good photos but should not choose Nazi history.“Students of the medical school have this mentality, they mimic the failed dictator,” wrote another man. “Petty and stupid to promote Nazism in any way, is considered a crime,” noted Marduk Muhammad.Others condemned the “dirty phenomenon” that had entered Iraqi society of “ignorance and underdevelopment” which had led to a decline in culture and led to ignorant people dressing up as fascists.“The Nazi movement is one that ravaged society and spread terrorism,” one commenter responded.Although most didn’t mention the Holocaust, one responder noted that some people admit that Hitler was “despicable. Unfortunately, they love him for killing the Jews.” Iraq was briefly ruled by a pro-Nazi administration under Rashid Ali from 1940 to 1941. A pogrom against Jews took place in 1941, and Ali fled to Berlin, where he met with Hitler and Haj Amin al-Husseini, the mufti of Jerusalem.The University of Baghdad’s College of Medicine, which the students allegedly attended, is one of the country’s more respected medical institutions, with origins in the Iraqi Royal Medical College which was established in 1927.