Germany’s 1934 World Cup soccer jersey, on display in Salvador, Brazil. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)
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Nazi-Era Jerseys on View in World Cup Exhibit

Display in Salvador, Brazil, endorsed by the tournament’s local committee

Stephanie Butnick
June 20, 2014
Germany's 1934 World Cup soccer jersey, on display in Salvador, Brazil. (AP Photo/Bernat Armangue)

A soccer exhibit at a mall in the World Cup host city of Salvador, Brazil, has some surprising items on display. Among the more than 100 vintage World Cup jerseys dating back to the first tournament in 1930 is the swastika-adorned jersey of Germany’s 1934 team, the AP reports. There’s also a Mussolini-era Italian jersey that features the fasces, the symbol of Italian fascism.

The exhibit’s organizer—and the owner of the jerseys—said the whole thing was approved by official channels.

Salvador doctor Duda Sampao, the owner of the collections, said that the exhibition has been endorsed by the local Brazilian World Cup organizing committee, and therefore has the consent of FIFA. World football governing body officials refused to comment, referring the matter to local organizers.

Sampao, who defended the exhibit by telling reporters an Israeli jersey from 1970 was also featured, maintained that the German jersey deserves to be displaying since it’s a “historical jersey.” He also added that he wanted to include the Palestinian jersey from 1938, but the team didn’t reach the World Cup that year.

Historical or not, it’s generally best to keep the fascist and Nazi paraphernalia—which functioned mostly as propaganda anyway—out of the unrelated sports exhibits. Especially at the mall.

Stephanie Butnick is deputy editor of Tablet Magazine and a host of the Unorthodox podcast.