Brazil judge bans carnival float depicting naked Holocaust victims

>RIO DE JANEIRO, Brazil (AP) – There will be no simulated pile of naked, emaciated corpses – and no dancing Hitler – at the world’s biggest street party.

A judge on Thursday blocked a carnival float meant to show that the Holocaust “gives you goose bumps.”

Workers began dismantling the float to rebuild it for this weekend’s parade, television footage showed. Viradouro, the top Rio samba group responsible for the float, said it was designed to remind carnival-goers of past horrors to prevent them from happening again.

But Jewish leaders were outraged. The Jewish Federation of Rio de Janeiro sued under federal laws prohibiting Nazi propaganda and racism in Brazil, said Lara Voges, a court spokeswoman.

“It’s inadmissible that they could have a parade float depicting dead Jews and a live Hitler on top of them,” said federation spokesman Jose Roitberg.

The designer of the float, Paulo Barros, wept as workers tore it apart and said the group meant no disrespect by depicting holocaust victims.

“This an extremely serious work, and people think we’re mocking,” he said, tears streaming from his eyes. “We’re going to speak now of the right to freedom.”

Rio de Janeiro state Judge Juliana Kalichszteim called the float a “clear trivialization of barbaric events.”

Carnival “should not be used as a tool for the cult of hate, any form of racism,” the judge said.

Rio’s two-night Samba parade, featuring thousands of scantily clad and elaborately plumed dancers, is the high point of Brazil’s carnival celebrations and is televised nationally in a country of 185 million people.