Nazi flag on display in Southland Museum sparks debate

August 14, 2016 by Keren Cook
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A World War II Nazi flag is currently being displayed in the main room of a South Canterbury Museum as part of their RSA’s centenary celebration.The Temuka Museum is displaying the flag in what they deem to be a historical context. However, despite the museum’s historical narrative intentions – the flag has created fierce debate.  Some members of the public support the Museum’s initiative and others are calling for the flag to be buried or burnt.

temNew Zealand Jewish Council president Stephen Goodman says: “Our major concerns are with those attempting to glorify the Nazi regime or make money from the sale of artifacts.

“The RSA being dedicated to soldiers including those who fought and died against the Nazis does not fall into that category and as long as it is not sensationalized it’s more a historical statement and unlikely to cause offense.”

Goodman said he was yet to receive any feedback from members of New Zealand’s Jewish community about the museum’s decision to exhibit the flag.

The Southland Museum said they would ask for donations from their visitors, but were not charging people to see it.

The item was a “marker flag” hung from an aerodrome during the Battle of Crete by the invading Germans, and was usually housed at the museum at Wahi School.

Sandy Kelman, the son of the New Zealand Army veteran who brought the flag back to New Zealand when he returned from war, said last week displaying the Nazi flag was a good idea.

Kelman says:  “ I think people need to know the history so it doesn’t get repeated.”


7 Responses to “Nazi flag on display in Southland Museum sparks debate”
  1. Dorothy Finlay says:

    While the flag may seem harmless enough a flag represents the honour of the nation flying it and I am sure it is not necessary to advance the Nazi cause by flying the flag which was a symbol of the leader and nation where many NZers fought and died.
    There is power in a furled flag and NZ does not want the Nazi spirit to be advanced history or no history. For the young who do not understand the symbol it is used for neo-nazi events. I hope the flag will be removed soon.

    • Graeme Henderson says:

      Flags do not represent the honour of the nation flying it, that is an absurd statement. Flags are rags with patterns used to rally cowards for war. This flag is a symbol of the overthrow of Nazi Germany by a Kiwi who was fighting to free the world from a fascist regime that had purloined the swastika as a symbol. People that get all passionate about flags cause wars. The only flag I respect is pure white. It says; here I am, please don’t shoot me for some silly reason. All other flags frighten me equally to this one.
      This flag did not cause WW2, racism and dishonesty and greed and cowardice caused WW2. This just happened to be the banner used at that time. I have seen the Union Jack used by Nazis in England during the Brexit campaign, the Stars and Stripes used by Nazis who support Trump in the USA, the Australian Flag used by Nazis in Australia to push their views of racial superiority on others. I see Nazis rising again, they don’t need this flag, but they would be easier to spot if they used it. They can use any flag because the flag is not important. While you worry about a symbol, the danger is behind you. The danger is every single person who thinks that they are superior to another person because of either their race or their religion. There are millions of them, using all sorts of flags, all over the world.
      Hitlers regime, his beliefs and philosophies and methods were the problem. His idea that only Aryans counted as being human was the problem.
      Seriously, this flag is not and never was the problem. Racism and bigotry and greed and dishonesty and fear are the problems. I wish every Nazi on the planet carried this flag, then people would realize the danger we are in. Nazism wasn’t a German thing, it’s a human thing. And we are seeing a new era of it gaining a foothold in the world.
      Don’t be distracted by bits of cloth and symbols, pay attention to the actions of humans, they are the danger.

      • Dorothy Finlay says:

        Mr Hendersen disagres that the flag under which you rally is nothing more than a piece of rag. In one sense I agree with you but it is interesting if you turn that statement into applying to our national flag in Australia, or in mmy case New Zealand.It is considered an insult to burn the USA flag or the Israeli flag- they do represent something more than just a piece of rag!

        It is true that the swaztika is not the national flag of Germany but during the World War it represented the evil of nazism and that was the flag that was seen during that time and everyone seeing it today associates it with the philospohies of Hitler.
        You of course are entitled to your opinion but I believe that there are forces at work in symbolism; why for instnace does the cross cunjur up anger in those who do not recognise it? Why do patches worn by bike gangs cause prbolems? Just some thoughts. Thank yoou.

    • Adrian Jackson says:

      The young understand as we see WW2 films and documentaries on TV every month and more recently its all on the Internet too

  2. Valerie geitlinger says:

    I think Temuka just wanted to raise funds and used a disgusting flag as a ghoulish peep show, not a history lesson. Hitler used that flag as a symbol of Aryan supremacy and anti-semitism. Why put it on display? What good does anyone learn from looking at a symbol of Evil?

  3. Adrian Jackson says:

    We cant rewrite history.

  4. Graeme Henderson says:

    Just a quick note to let you know of a mistake in your headline. Temuka is in South Canterbury, part of the Canterbury province, Southland is an entirely separate province, these two provinces being separated by the province of Otago. Canterbury is a very English part of New Zealand, while Southland is a very Scottish part of New Zealand, with a very different accent.

    All the best,

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