A BALLARAT man was overwhelmed with anger and felt sick to his stomach when he saw “new” Nazi armbands for sale at a family market.
Josh, who did not want his last name printed for fear of being targeted by white supremacists, fears the memorabilia promotes racial division which he says is increasing in Ballarat’s ethnically diverse community.
He claims new, red armbands, emblazoned with the Nazi swastika along with other ‘white supremacist’ items were for sale at the small market stall.
He claimed the vendor seemed to be promoting the items to children.
“I found it quite offensive,” Josh said.
“Ballarat should be an inclusive place, we have people from all backgrounds and ethnic minorities. It’s dangerous and divisive.”
Rotary Club of Ballarat South president and Ballarat Market organiser Alan Crouch confirmed he had received a complaint about a vendor selling Nazi memorabilia and the matter was being investigated.
“(Aflter speaking to police) We have discovered (the selling of the items) is not illegal however we have determined that the selling of these items in not in the best interest of the market. The chairman we be taking steps to ensure the market remains family friendly,” Mr Crouch said
He said the chairman would be speaking to the vendor soon.
The complaint comes at a time when anti-islamists in Melbourne have been seen displaying swastikas.
In 2008 The Courier reported Nazi memorabilia was removed from a stall at the Daylesford Mill Markets after a complaint to the B'nai B'rith Anti-defamation Commission. At the time the woman, who lost family members in the Holocaust, lodged the complaint after seeing swastikas, an arm band, stamps and Nazi documentation at a stall.
Ballarat Regional Multicultural Council chairwoman Aisha Aboulfadil said Ballarat was an accepting community.
“In relation to this I can say I hope that he didn’t sell too many of them, and that it is a trash and treasure market – some stuff is trash,” Ms Aboulfadil said.
“Ballarat is a very inclusive place, especially compared to other regional and some metropolitan cities.
“The sheer number of refugees that have settled and the fact that it wants to be a choice location for asylum seekers fleeing (war), is a real indication of this.”
Josh said he was not against war memorabilia being sold, but believed newly made items with symbols that had been used to represent hate should not be sold.
The Courier contacted the police who said they did not believe selling such items was a criminal offence.