UCL student who waved Neo-Nazi flag at Durham ball says he’s ‘naturally not a Nazi’
‘I would like to emphasise that this is not a neo-nazi flag, it is a historic German flag’
The student who waved a flag associated with Neo Nazi groups at the Durham Polo Ball last Friday has apologised for his actions, claiming he is “naturally not a Nazi.”
He has explained that he apparently did not know that far right extremists had “misappropriated” the “1903 Imperial German Flag” in question.
The individual in question was a guest at the ball from UCL and not a member of the Durham Polo Society or even a student at Durham University.
The student told The Durham Tab: “Firstly, I would like to apologise unreservedly for any offence I have caused by waving a German flag at the closing stages of the Durham University Polo Ball. I accept full responsibility for taking the flag to the ball in the first place and am deeply ashamed that my actions caused such hurt.
“Subsequently to this there has been a degree of dragging the name of both Durham University and the Durham Polo Club down and equating this waving of a flag to that of a ‘Neo nazi flag incident.’ The flag in question was a 1903 Imperial German Flag, and whilst certain vile groups have been known to misappropriate these tri-colour North German Confederation flags, this was not in any way the connotation I had thought of, or associated, the flag with.
“I condemn any form of discrimination based on race, religion, sexuality or nationality as I would hope all people present at the Ball would do. I sincerely apologise for any reputational scepticism this may have brought upon both the Institution of Durham University and its Polo Club as well as to anyone in attendance who has felt excluded, insulted or hurt by this.
“I am extremely committed to ending any form of prejudice and discrimination that prevent us from living in an all inclusive society and would like to stress that there was no motivation to cause offence behind these woeful actions. I have since looked into the history of the flag and its post war uses, and, whilst I saw it being used in 1990 as a symbol for German Unity, it has been used as inspiration for the symbols and signs various groups which form a nasty underbelly of bigotry and nazism which is nothing short of appalling.
“I am quite ashamed to admit that I did not know this, and how foolish I was not to look into it before the Ball. Nonetheless, I think there is an important distinction to be made between the two and I would like to emphasise that this is not a neo-nazi flag, it is a historic German flag.
“I deeply regret bringing the flag in the first place and casting such a dire shadow over a very well organised, executed and fun event. As the head of my own table and the person who brought the flag I take sole responsibility for the offences caused.
“I apologise profoundly to Durham University, Durham University’s Polo Club, all guests who attended the Durham Polo Ball and all who have been insulted, offended and excluded by my actions. I hope that you may consider and accept my apology on behalf of Durham University.”
Durham’s Jewish society have nonetheless condemned the incident, telling The Durham Tab that:
“The Durham University Jewish Society condemns the use of nazi or neo-nazi symbols and symbolism. The use of such symbolism is discriminatory to Jewish and other students and it’s disappointing that these incidents still happen.”