German Jews found ′KKK′ club to reclaim Carnival tradition | News | DW | 05.02.2019
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German Jews found 'KKK' club to reclaim Carnival tradition

Jewish Carnival revelers in Cologne have formed a club named "Kölsche Kippa Köpp," or KKK for short. The initials were made infamous by the Ku Klux Klan, but hold an entirely different meaning for Cologne Jews.

For the first time since the 1930s, Jewish fans of the Cologne Carnival can join their very own club — the "Kölsche Kippa Köpp," or KKK.

A local Jewish group officially unveiled the Kölsche Kippa Köpp (Cologne Yarmulke Heads) association on Monday, in a bid to revive a tradition destroyed by the Nazi regime.

"Cologne Jews have always been a part of the multifaceted Carnival life, but they have not been visible for a long time," club president Aaron Knappstein said.

Read more: 11 crazy Carnival events held between November 11 and Lent

Not that KKK

The club's founders said they chose the name as a nod to a pre-war club that also had the initials KKK.

In the early 1920s, a Jewish textile trader and Carnival fan, Max Solomon, started a bowling association that eventually called itself the "Kleiner Kölner Klub" (Small Cologne Club).

The club became popular among the city's Jewish revelers. Members staged masked balls and took part in costume festivals, according to the city's daily newspaper, Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger.

But the club fell apart after the Nazis came to power in 1933. Many club members were murdered and others were forced to flee the country.

"We are very much aware of the traditions of the previous KKK, but we are also happy to start new traditions," Knappstein was quoted as saying by the DPA news agency.

Avoiding confusion

The initials KKK were made infamous throughout the world by the Ku Klux Klan, a racist and anti-Semitic group based in the United States.

The club said they were aware of the negative association and would try to avoid displaying the initials, for example by not printing them on the club's medal.

The Carnival season in northwestern Germany starts on November 11 and culminates in the run up to Ash Wednesday, which this year falls on March 6.

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