A JEWISH businesswoman who lost 300 family members in the Holocaust has slammed anti-HS2 campaigners for uploading a ‘disgusting’ video portraying Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin as Hitler.
The parody clip, uploaded by Staffordshire Against HS2 Group leader Rolfe Pearce, shows a scene from 2009 film Mein Kampf.
The scene has been ‘comically’ edited to include subtitles depicting Tom Schilling, who plays Hitler billowing orders to his generals, as the Transport Secretary.
Mr Pearce says the video is ‘light relief’ for those being ‘dictated to’ over Government plans to rip through swathes of the countryside surrounding Stafford to build a high-speed rail line.
However, Trentham resident Sam Caldicott does not see the funny side of the video and claims it is an ‘insult to the memory’ of those who lost their lives during World War Two.
She said: “To be honest, I find it deeply offensive that this has been put on the campaign group’s home page.
“There’s a message on there that someone’s put up saying ‘If you don't have humour, then you may as well nail the coffin lid down now’.
“What I’d say to that is how about the coffins that good decent people should have had when they got thrown alive in to ovens because Hitler decided that they were not good enough?
“I think these people need to get real. As a businesswoman myself, I know how much these plans will help me and others like me.
“It’s only the older generation who are complaining about this, not younger, more progressive people who want to see things move forward in a positive way.”
Mr Pearce said: “I am ex-army, as are my brothers, and I believe that freedom of speech was one of the most important things that our soldiers fought for during World War Two.
“I would never, ever dream of trivialising the Holocaust or the tremendous hardship so many people went through during that time.
“I sincerely apologise to anyone who may have been offended by this, but, equally, some of the elderly residents who have suffered and been left completely uninformed over what’s going to happen to their homes by HS2 have told me it made them smile over the issue for the first time.
“They had first-hand experience of the war and their plight is the real story. When I went leafleting recently, an elderly rural resident had no knowledge of the fact her home was going to be affected.
“I had to spend two hours holding her hand and explaining what was going on to calm her down but I just felt awful for her.”
“I’ve already seen evidence of those who want this scheme to go ahead using any means possible to have a dig at our cause so I’m not surprised by this criticism.
“However, I can assure you that most of the feedback I’ve had about the video has been overwhelmingly positive.”
The video is available to watch online at www.staffsagainsths2.blogspot.co.uk.