Is it a sign of a burgeoning anti-Semitic movement – or a silly fashion statement? Some Jewish community officials, who did not wish to be named in order not to “fan any flames,” as one put it in an interview, have expressed concern over the latest style in haircuts – the “Jugend,” or the “Hitler Youth” hairdo that has begun gracing an increasing number of heads in the more “hip” areas of Manhattan.
The New York Times “outed” the hairdo in a weekend story, interviewing a Greenwich Village barber who says he has been getting many requests for the haircut from young men frequenting his shop. Although he prefers not to refer to it as such, says the barber, Sam Buffa, that's what the customers are asking for - “buzzed on the sides, longer on top and slicked back with a dab of pomade,” as the Times describes it.
The haircut seems to be inspired, the Times said, by retro TV shows and movies depicting the 1920s and 1930s that have achieve popularity recently. The Times piece quoted a photographer as saying that he himself had sported the haircut, and that he had been unaware of any Hitler connections. In “any photography book of Paris in the ’30s, almost all the guys had that cut,” said the photographer, Scott Schuman.
But several activists in the Jewish community are not so sure that the “Jugend” is just another silly fashion statement. “Not that these are members of Hitler youth, but the fact that the term is thrown around so cavalierly is of concern,” said one activist in the New York Jewish community. “I am far from being someone who sees anti-Semitism in every little thing, but we have in recent weeks witnessed numerous attacks on Jews. Anti-Semitism seems to be in the air right now,” the activist said.
Several weeks ago, vandals set fire to several parked cars and scrawled anti-Semitic graffiti on nearby benches in the predominantly a heavily Jewish neighborhood of Midwood in what the police said was a hate crime. The arson took place along Ocean Parkway between Avenue I and Avenue J in what is commonly referred to as the Flatbush section where three cars; a BMW, a Lexus and a Jaguar, were set ablaze. In addition, the epithet “KKK” was scrawled on the side of a red van and swastikas and anti-Semitic slurs were found on benches. This area of Brooklyn, including Midwood and Borough Park, contains one of the largest concentrations of Holocaust survivors outside of Israel. Jewish residents of the area held a march and rally decrying the attack.