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Statement from Ixion Model Railways Ltd
MODEL train club members have come under fire for posting images of themselves executing a Nazi salute on Australia Day.
In the image, which was linked to the Greater Geelong Model Railway/Rail Club page, at least 14 men and women are pictured saluting offensively.
Some men can be seen holding a finger to their top lip.
While a barrage of criticism led to the removal of the post, the group refused to apologise and instead defended the image as a “bit of fun”.
“A photo that was posted about tonight has been taken down. A good night has had by all,” the post read.
“The photo was a bit of fun and a good laugh was had.”
But Jewish Community Council of Victoria president Jennifer Huppert said the image, which was posted on the eve of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, would cause trauma to war survivors and the broader Jewish community.
She said those responsible for the image should educate themselves by attending the state’s Holocaust museum.
“The fact that they thought they could do what they did in a lighthearted manner shows a complete lack of understanding,” Ms Huppert said.
“It is very upsetting for members of the Jewish community and for survivors of the Holocaust.”
A member of the group Dan Moroney, who declined to speak to the Addy, saidon Facebook the group was “raising money for a great cause”.
“So to those haters that have taken offences to a humours (sic) picture taken … we as great friends just raised $310 for the McGrath foundation.”
But Renee Closter said there was no humour in the image.
“If you don’t see why Nazi salutes aren’t humorous, I suggest you crack a history book,” she said on Facebook.
“The gesture is illegal in some countries and morally reprehensible in most of the rest”.
Facebook page administrator Douglas Drew dismissed critics as “keyboard warriors”.
“Just to let you know. That no club was involved. And if you don’t know the TV show Hogan’s heroes from the 1960 you will not understand,” he said in a written statement to the Addy.
“None of my Jewish friends where (sic) offended as there was a couple of them there.”
Following questions for the Geelong Advertiser reference to the word club was removed from the page and the group’s contact details were detail.
Reference to Mr Drew as the page administrator was also deleted.
Ms Huppert said the posting of the image on the weekend of International Holocaust Remembrance Day showed many people had a lack of understanding of the atrocities of World War II.
“I think it shows the importance of educating people about the past — if we don’t understand the past we are doomed to relive it,” Ms Huppert said.
Said she this was highlighted by the “distressing” increase in the use of Nazi symbols at racist events.
“It’s clear there has been an increase in the use of Nazi symbols (at organised rallies),” Ms Huppert said.
“That isn’t lighthearted. It is malicious. It is not acceptable.”
This article first appeared on www.geelongadvertiser.com.au
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