“This is not only tasteless, but violates the dignity of the victims of this dictatorship,” Hubertus Knabe, the director of the Berlin-Hohenschönhausen Memorial, where the Stasi ran a huge prison, told the BZ newspaper this week.
“For years, we’ve been experiencing an increasingly careless way of dealing with the relics of the communist dictatorship in Germany,” he added.
Communist-era insignia has become increasingly chic in western Europe, where young people sometimes wear t-shirts or military caps with the infamous hammer and sickle.
In parts of Berlin, surplus East German military supplies are sold on the streets and street hawkers pose in old army uniforms for pictures with tourists.
But Knabe says the commercialization of the communist era is wrong and should be compared to idealizing the Nazis. In Germany, it is illegal to publicly display insignia like the swastika that are commonly associated with the Nazis.
Knabe told the BZ that there is no other country where “you can freely walk around on the street in the uniform of a fallen dictatorship.”
He said he would be calling on Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger to begin working on a ban.