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Zara in Holocaust blunder

August 27, 2014

Fashion chain Zara has withdrawn a T-shirt following complaints that it resembled the striped clothing that Jews were made to wear at Nazi concentration camps. The company says the theme was supposed to be "Wild West".

Screenshot Zara Online Store Kindermode
Image: Zara

The Spanish high street giant, which has over 2,000 stores worldwide, withdrew a children's T-shirt from sale on Wednesday following an outcry on social media, with complaints that it resembled Jewish prisoners' clothing at World War II concentration camps.

The long-sleeved shirt with horizontal blue and white stripes was also emblazoned with a six-pointed gold star, which was likened to the yellow Star of David that Jews were made to wear in public under Nazi rule.

The toddler's shirt was available online on Tuesday evening in France, Albania and Sweden and could be viewed as a catalogue item in several other countries. On Twitter, many shocked consumers contacted Zara, asking: "What were the designers thinking?"

YadBYad which helps people facing online anti-Semitism and anti-Israel racism tweeted, "Hi @zara we are worried about this design. Very similar to Nazi yellow star?"

Zara later apologized on Twitter, insisting that the star was "inspired by the sheriff's stars from the Classic Western films."

"It was only on sale for a few hours, only online, it didn't hit the stores," said a spokeswoman with Inditex, which owns the Zara chain. "It was withdrawn this morning."

She said the shirt was designed to be part of a "Wild West" clothing range and the star was intended as a sheriff's badge and had "nothing to do with the Second World War."

"We understand the sensitivity of the subject" and "of course we apologize to our customers," she added.

Inditex were unable to comment on how many shirts were sold, or if customers who ordered the shirt will receive it.

Zara, which has 73 and 22 stores in Germany and Israel respectively, previously came under fire in 2007 after it sold a women's bag which was embroidered with a swastika. The company said the bag had come from an external supplier and the symbol, most commonly associated with the Nazis nowadays, had not been visible when the product was chosen.

ksb/msh (AP, dpa, Reuters)