In early May, anti-Semitic flags were seen flying in Alberta towns which prompted criminal complaints from the community. Two flags, one representing Hitler Youth and one of the confederate symbol, were raised by a resident of Breton, AB, a small town located about 100km south of Edmonton. RCMP officers spoke with the property owners who refused to remove the flags from their yard.
The Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies, a prominent Jewish organization, filed a criminal complaint with the RCMP over the pair of flags. The Toronto-based group says that they are “extremely disturbed.” This second incident of anti-Semitic flags was less than a week after a Hitler Youth flag was spotted on a property in Boyle, AB, 125km north of Edmonton.
Drayton Valley-Devon MLA, Mark Smith, called the flag display “disgusting” and added on a Facebook post: “The Nazis in particular committed true acts of horror, including the genocide of millions. That someone saw fit to fly this symbol here is reprehensible.”
Const. Chantelle Kelly of the area’s RCMP force said that the residents in Boyle had complied in taking down the flag. Kelly said in an interview: “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.”
The Jewish organization’s statement on the matter said, “It is extremely disturbing and quite disheartening to once again see a Hitler Youth flag, as well as the Confederate flag, on display.” The group is in the process of filing complaints and writing a letter to Breton’s mayor and city council. The organization hopes that the community and police force can work together to have the flags removed.
During the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian military conflict, displays of such nature are particularly harmful and aggressive.
Jaime Kirzner-Roberts, the group’s policy director, added the following statement: “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. 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.”