NEWS
18/09/2020 1:51 PM AEST | Updated 18/09/2020 3:52 PM AEST

It's 2020, And This Anne Frank Halloween Costume Is Still Being Sold

The children's costume sparked a backlash in 2017, and a similar outfit was removed by a retail giant earlier this month.

A children’s costume in the likeness of Holocaust victim Anne Frank is still being sold years after a massive backlash and after being pulled by other retailers.

Australian editor and producer Jack Latimore tweeted a screenshot of the Australian website for UK costume retailer Smiffys on Friday in which the ‘World War II Evacuee Girl Costume’ was listed for sale for $31.95.

“Australian stores have stocked this Hallowe’en costume & I clearly must have missed something at some point because just wtf?” he wrote on Twitter. 

The costume featured a cheery young girl wearing a World War II-era dress, beret and bag. 

The social media post sparked a string of replies of disapproval of the outfit, with one person writing, “This world getting dumber and dumber” and another putting it simply, “Just no”.

Another person claimed Latimore had been mistaken by the costume, tweeting, “I don’t want to mansplain. But hoping that you’re aware this is in relation to the evacuation of kids in London? Like Narnia and Carrie’s War? Not Jewish children during the holocaust.”

Latimore then tweeted a screenshot showing the same costume is being sold elsewhere as the “WW2 Anne Frank Girls Costume”.

Carlos Galindo-Elvira, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League’s Arizona office, summed up a lot of people’s feelings in this tweet when the costume was criticised in 2017: 

“All our World War II Evacuee Costumes have been a staple of our world wide range for many years.  With Smiffy’s being a UK based company representing this time in history is very important,” Smiffys Australia said in a statement to HuffPost Australia.

“If you look at our website this costume is listed under our 1940′s range and has never been marketed by Smiffys as a Halloween costume and never will.”

For those unfamiliar with her story, Anne Frank was a 15-year-old German teenager who hid from the Nazis in Amsterdam during World War II and wrote a diary about her experiences in hiding.

After being discovered by the Gestapo, Anne and her family were split up. In October 1944, she, along with her sister Margot, was taken to the Bergen-Belsen concentration camp.

Anne nearly survived the war but died of typhus in March 1945. Bergen-Belsen was liberated by British troops the next month. Anne’s diary, “The Diary of a Young Girl,” was published posthumously. 

Earlier this month, Target in the US removed a similar costume made by Smiffys, which was described as:

“Is your child studying World War II or the Holocaust? Now you can help her transport back in time to the 1940s. They say that dressing up can be an important learning technique and this WW2 Girl costume for kids will be the perfect learning tool.”

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

With additional reporting by Jenna Amatulli.

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