Canada

Jewish group ‘extremely disturbed’ by reports of Hitler Youth flags in Alberta towns

A prominent Jewish organization says it is “extremely disturbed” by reports of Hitler Youth flags being displayed in two Alberta towns within days of each other.

The Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies says it filed a criminal complaint with RCMP after being alerted on the weekend to Hitler Youth and Confederate flags by a resident of Breton, Alta., about 100 kilometres southwest of Edmonton.

The Toronto-based organization says in a release that the RCMP confirmed that officers spoke to the property owner, who has refused to take down the flags.

The report came less than a week after the Jewish group filed a complaint to the RCMP about a Hitler Youth flag at a property in Boyle, Alta., about 125 kilometres north of Edmonton.

In a recent interview, RCMP spokeswoman Const. Chantelle Kelly said that property owner removed a flag after speaking with officers.

Mounties were not immediately available for comment on the Breton flag, but have said they were investigating whether hate was a factor in the Boyle case.

“Technically, flying a flag is not illegal in itself, so (investigators) have to determine whether there is motivation or something else behind it that is criminal in nature,” Kelly said in an interview last week.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center said Tuesday that “it is extremely disturbing and quite disheartening to once again see a Hitler Youth flag, as well as the Confederate flag, on display.”

The organization said it has written to Breton’s mayor and village council to ask that they work with police to ensure the flags are removed.

“These displays of hate go against the values that Canada stands for and are an attack on not only the Jewish and Black communities, but also on our veterans and fallen soldiers who made unspeakable sacrifices to defeat the Nazis and preserve our freedoms,” Jaime Kirzner-Roberts, the group’s policy director, said in the release.

“We urge police to investigate this incident as a hate crime and for community leaders to send a message loud and clear that hate will not be tolerated in their community.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 11, 2021.

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