The costume being sold on Smiffy's. Picture: Smiffys.com.au
The costume being sold on Smiffy's. Picture: Smiffys.com.au

Outrage over ‘offensive’ children’s costume

An Australian retailer is still selling a children's costume resembling the clothes of World War II Holocaust victim Anne Frank, despite calls for the "offensive" product to be pulled from the site.

Originally named "WWII Anne Frank Girl's Costume", the outfit was pulled from most retailers in 2017 after facing customer complaints.

But the Australian website of UK-based online retailer Smiffy's has continued to sell the costume for $31.95, renaming it "World War II Evacuee Girl Costume" - but customers who type "Anne Frank" into the site's search bar are directed to this costume.

In a picture on the retailer's site, a young girl is pictured wearing a 1940s-style navy dress, bag and beret, with an ID tag pinned to the lapel of her dress - an outfit similar to one worn by Frank, who died at the age of 16 in Germany's Bergen-Belsen concentration camp in 1945.

"Over 3.7 million people where (sic) relocated and evacuated throughout the time of World War II and a lot of them were women and children," the description reads.

"This vintage girls costume comes with navy blue dress, felt brown saddle bag and a dark green, elastic hat. You can easily team this up with one of Smiffy's petticoats."

The costume being sold on Smiffy’s. Picture: Smiffys.com.au
The costume being sold on Smiffy’s. Picture: Smiffys.com.au

Australian editor and producer Jack Latimore tweeted a screenshot of the costume last week, questioning why it was still available.

"Australian stores have stocked this Halloween costume and I clearly must have missed something at some point because just wtf?" he wrote.

Other users pointed out they'd seen "news about this exact outfit before, like a year, if not years ago … can't believe anyone would still be stocking it".

The costume being sold on Smiffy’s. Picture: Smiffys.com.au
The costume being sold on Smiffy’s. Picture: Smiffys.com.au

"I wonder how the women who are still alive and were evacuated feel about this. I don't think I would want to relive that trauma," wrote another.

In a statement to HuffPost Australia, Smiffy's said the costume has "been a staple of our worldwide range for many years".

"With Smiffy's being a UK-based company, representing this time in history is very important," the statement reads.

"If you look at our website, this costume is listed under our 1940s range and has never been marketed by Smiffy's as a Halloween costume and never will (be)."

Holocaust victim Anne Frank, who the costume is based on.
Holocaust victim Anne Frank, who the costume is based on.

A similar costume, with the description, "Is your child studying World War II or the Holocaust? Now you can help her transport back in time to the 1940s," was removed by Target in the US earlier this month.

"We apologise to any guests who were offended by this costume. We have removed it from Target.com and are sharing this feedback with the vendor," a spokesman told Fox News.

"In addition, we are taking this opportunity to review the process we have in place before a costume is available for purchase on Target.com."

Originally published as Outrage over 'offensive' children's costume


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