Group dressed in Nazi uniforms confront shoppers in Coles supermarket

A photo of four people dressed in Nazi uniforms in a Coles supermarket north of Melbourne has sparked outrage.

The photo, taken in a Coles store at Woodend was obtained by The Age newspaper. It’s believed the CCTV image was taken on October 26.

Concerned resident Craig MacKenzie told the paper he confronted the group, which he said was made up of two men and two women in their 20s, about what they were wearing.

He accused them of being “highly disrespectful”.

“The blokes told me that it was 'only a joke' and to f*** off. I persisted, saying that there could be people here who went through World War II and the Holocaust. They laughed it off and told me to f*** off again,” Mr MacKenzie told the Age.

These four people were seen entering a Coles supermarket on October 26 with Nazi symbols. Source: The Age

He clarified that he believes the group were heading for a costume party and weren’t right-wing extremists.

October 26 was the last Saturday before Halloween.

Dr Dvir Abramovich, Chairman of the Anti-Defamation Commission, told Yahoo News Australia the image is “beyond revolting”.

“For many (it) would be as frightening as being confronted by a gun,” Dr Abramovich said. 

“The wearing of the Nazi uniform is an incitement to violence and murder, it is a call for a world without Jews, plain and simple.”

He added the sight would have been painful for survivors of the Holocaust and their descendants.

“It would tear a hole in their heart, and would put them on edge since you know that those individuals who walked into a supermarket, might harbour the same malevolent intentions as those promulgated by the Nazis who almost wiped out an entire people,” Dr Abramovich said.

Members of Campaign Against Racism and Fascism hold a banner during a protest in 2017. Source: Getty Images

‘People are so ignorant’

In February, about 30 swastikas were found painted on a wall at Bondi Beach in Sydney.

Resident Michael Dunbar told Yahoo News Australia at the time that the act was “disgraceful in this day and age”.

“This shouldn’t be happening anywhere. Not in Bondi, not in Australia, not anywhere. It really is a shameful act,” Mr Dunbar said.

Jennifer Huppert, president of the Jewish Community Council of Victoria, told The Age following the supermarket incident there is a "lack of understanding" about Nazi memoribilia.

Peter Wertheim, co-chief executive of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry, added it’s “bizarre” “people are so ignorant of history”.

A spray-painted swastika is subjected to a police investigation in 2012. Source: AAP

Dr Abramovich said “dark and menacing clouds of bigotry and white-supremacism” are “gathering” in Australia.

“This rising tide of hate should be a cause of grave concern,” he said. 

“It is also an important reminder that we must stand together against the dangerous ideology promoted by such extremists and say that there is no room for such intolerance in our country.”

He called for public displays of the swastika and other Nazi insignias to be banned from public displays.

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