Museum forced to defend its decision to display controversial flag

Museums are renowned for the part they play in bringing to life things of the past, yet a museum in

Museums are renowned for the part they play in bringing to life things of the past, yet a museum in New Zealand is being forced to defend its decision to display a controversial piece of history as part of its anniversary celebrations.

The Temuka Museum is displaying an authentic World War II Nazi flag as part of the Temuka RSA’s 100th anniversary. Members of the museum say the flag is a “legitimate part of history”, but as you might expect there has been an outpouring of backlash on social media.

The manager and secretary of Temuka RSA, Vicky Howey, told she hoped the interest the flag had generated so far would also attract “new blood” and “get more bums on seats”, which has only further inflamed the situation with opposition to the museum profiting from the flag.

One member said the small donation from flag viewers to help the museum meet its costs was optional.


The son of the NZ Army veteran who brought the flag home when he returned from the war, Sandy Kelman says the museum’s decision to display the infamous flag was good one.

“When my father swiped it in 1941, a lot of people then didn’t know what that symbol really meant, how evil it was and what it symbolised,” Sandy says.

“I think people need to know the history so it doesn’t get repeated.”

Is it okay for the Nazi flag to be displayed? Did you have a family member who served in World War II?

  1. Jan Anstis  

    Yes most definitely, a terrible part of history, LEST WE FORGET, and both my parents, uncles and aunts served in th armed forces and I am sure they would agree, never again!!!

  2. Kaye  

    Of course display it. LEST WE FORGET are not just words they have a very important message. The Nazi flag is an important reminder of what our ancestors went through.

  3. Ken  

    Been to a lot of military museums were they have displayed German uniforms, weaponry, etc and some have had the Nazi flag as well. Of course it’s OK to display the flag, that’s what our men and women fought for, FREEDOM.
    Lest We Forget!

  4. Lyn Greenwood  

    The museum is totally within it’s rights to display the flag. History is what it is – a record of real happenings, however distasteful they were at the time, and the Nazis were very real players in a war engineered by their leader, Hitler! Just because we look at the Allied forces as “Goodies” and the Nazis as the “Baddies” doesn’t mean we shouldn’t remind ourselves of the evils perpetrated, or the (hopefully!) lessons learned! The flag is not there to suggest we espouse it’s values, but to remind us that we don’t!

  5. In Temuka, it will just be a historical artifact, a captured enemy exhibit.
    It would be a different matter if it were to be flown in Berlin.

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