(Ultra-Orthodox men, wearing uniforms like those worn by Jews during the holocaust, take part in a protest against what they called oppression of Ultra-Orthodox Jews, in Jerusalem's Mea Shearim neighbourhood December 31, 2011. REUTERS/Baz Ratner)

Ultra-Orthodox Jewish demonstrators caused outrage on Sunday by dressing children as Holocaust victims to protest against what they see as persecution of devout Jews seeking gender separation in Israel. A boy wearing a cloth cap and the sidecurls of an Orthodox Jew was the centrepiece of the Jerusalem protest late on Saturday.

His hands were raised in surrender and a yellow Star of David inscribed with “Jude,” Jew, in German, was sewn on his jacket. The image mimicked a memorable photo of a terrified Jewish boy during a roundup in the Nazi-occupied Warsaw Ghetto in World War Two. “Nazis, Nazis,” some of the protesters shouted at police.

Other children and young men were dressed in replicas of striped concentration camp uniforms at the protest attended by hundreds of ultra-Orthodox Jews in traditional black garb.

“Prisoner uniforms and yellow patches with the word “Jew” written on them in German are shocking and appalling,” Defence Minister Ehud Barak said in a statement. “The use of yellow patches and small children raising their hands in surrender crosses a red line which the ultra-Orthodox leadership, who are largely responsible people, must not accept,” he said.