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Last Updated: Friday, 1 February 2008, 02:48 GMT
Rio judge bans float on Holocaust
The float trivialised the Holocaust, said the judge

Warning: Some may find the enlarged image disturbing

A Brazilian judge has banned a group from parading in the Rio carnival with a float depicting the victims of the Holocaust and a Hitler figure.

The judge issued the injunction after a lawsuit brought by the Jewish Federation of Rio de Janeiro, Fierj.

She said the samba group could still parade but must remove mannequins meant to represent dead bodies.

But legal decisions in Brazil are often overturned and it is still not clear if an appeal will be launched.

Rio's carnival gets under way properly on Sunday when the main samba schools begin their musical parades.

"Carnival should not be used as an instrument of hatred, any kind of racism and clear trivialisation of barbaric and unjustified acts against minorities," Judge Juliana Kalichszteim said as she issued her injunction.

The ruling stops the Unidos do Viradouro samba school from parading with its planned Holocaust tableau and also having someone dressed as Adolf Hitler.


The group faced a fine if it tried to go ahead.

"The monstrosity that is the Holocaust just cannot be combined with the excessively festive nature of the carnival, a festival recognised worldwide for its joy, humour, entertainment and eroticism," said Fierj's lawyer Ricardo Brajterman.

The float is one of several that Viradouro was planning to use as the group parades down Rio's sambadrome under its theme "It gives you goose bumps". The other floats are set to portray cold, fear and birth.

The Holocaust float would have shown a pile of mannequins and have had no people dancing or singing alongside it.

Viradouro's creative director, Paulo Barros, said the float was a "very respectful" reminder of the Holocaust and a reminder that such an atrocity should never be repeated.

"This an extremely serious work, and people think we're mocking," said Mr Barros, who was in tears as his team started dismantling the float.


Fierj's president had appealed to Viradouro not to use the float "out of respect for the dead, for their families and for history".

Rio's main carnival consists of 12 separate parades over two nights by samba schools from the city's favelas, or shanty towns.

They often pick social issues as a theme for their floats or costumes and this is not the first time it has attracted controversy.

At the 1989 carnival, another samba school had to cover up a float which portrayed Rio's statue of Christ the Redeemer as a homeless person.

The controversial float

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