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English pub denied award due to complaint over WWII trophy

Soldiers had brought the Nazi armband, featuring a swastika, back to England as a reminder of their victory.

Armband of the German Nazi Party, worn around the upper left sleeve of the uniform tunic and bearing a swastika. Credit: Joe Mabel via Wikimedia Commons.
Armband of the German Nazi Party, worn around the upper left sleeve of the uniform tunic and bearing a swastika. Credit: Joe Mabel via Wikimedia Commons.

The ambience at the The Hole in the Wall in Bodmin, a town on the western tip of England, is apparently so distinctive that local nonprofit CAMRA Kernow awarded it with a “Pub of the Year” award—that is, until a local resident voiced an objection due to a Nazi armband on display there.

Owner Steve Hall explained that the town served as a garrison and that the soldiers returned “with spoils of war memorabilia.” Other items contributing to the pub’s old fashioned English ambience include a stuffed lion, a Winston Churchill photo and a collection of antique guns.

Hall said that the armband “was not to hero-worship Hitler or the Nazis, but to celebrate the victory over fascism and to remember their comrades who died fighting against evil.” He said the criticism “has really tarnished my image,” noting that “that piece of military memorabilia has been in the pub since it opened 80 years ago.”

Bodmin resident Colin Curless filed the complaint, saying “having a swastika armband on show in your pub is not a good advert for Cornwall, let alone a stuffed lion.”

The national branch of CAMRA Kernow will not award a “Pub of the Year” award this year, justifying its decision by citing its policy that, as a spokesperson said, “no pub or club should be considered for an award if it displays signs or objects that could be offensive to consumers due to their discriminatory nature.”

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