Samba Dancer in Brazil Wears Nazi Uniform in Carnival Rehearsal

Dancer impersonates mixed figure of Adolf Hitler and far-right President Jair Bolsonaro, possibly with intention to criticize the latter

A performer parades during carnival celebrations in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, February 16, 2015.
Leo Correa / AP

A dancer at a Brazilian samba school wore a traditional presidential inauguration belt over a Nazi uniform during a rehearsal session for the upcoming Carnival parade.

The Aguia de Ouro school dancer, who impersonated a mixed figure of Adolf Hitler with a reference to Brazil’s new right-wing President Jair Bolsonaro on Saturday in Sao Paulo, also wore a crossed-out swastika on an armband and carried a rifle and a baton.

The performance was recorded on video, photographed and reported by the Carnavalesco website, which specializes in news about the Carnival, which will be held in early March.

“We always repudiate it when someone associates the crimes committed during Nazism with some fact of everyday life. The Holocaust is something very sensitive to the Jewish community around the world and to all who have suffered through this barbarism,” read a note released by the Sao Paulo Jewish federation on Sunday.

The samba school’s president apologized to Jewish officials in a phone call, according to the federation. “This was an isolated attitude of a member that took the opportunity to personally promote himself. We have already taken the necessary steps to prevent it from happening,” the school’s president said.

The Nazi character was performing in an area designed for one of the samba school’s floats, which may indicate that it will bring a critical message of Brazilian politics and society. Aguia de Ouro’s theme for this year’s parade is: “Brazil, I want to talk about you! What country is this?”

Controversial Carnival floats involving Jews and the Holocaust are not rare in both the Rio and Sao Paulo parades. In most cases, Jewish officials have been successful in removing the anti-Semitic figures or floats before the parades, which are televised to billions across the world.