The boy, said to have ‘an interest in history and politics’ was given permission to dress up as Adolf Hitler. Five Year 9 exchange students from Bialik College, a Jewish school in Hawthorn, were visiting the school at the time.. Photo: Penny Stephens
Adolf Hitler’s autobiography, ‘Mein Kampf’, outlined his plans for Germany.
Last month a Perth mother painted her son’s skin black for a Book Week parade, as he wanted to look like footballer Nic Naitanui.
A student at an Alice Springs private school has dressed up as Adolf Hitler for a Book Week parade which coincided with a visit by exchange students from a Melbourne Jewish school.
A teacher at St Philip’s College gave the student permission to dress up as the Fuhrer, with the costume earning the boy the title of one of the “best dressed”.
The Northern Territory school has apologised for the incident, which occurred at a Book Week assembly on Thursday.
A spokeswoman for the school said a respected teacher had made an “innocent mistake”.
She said the student had an interest in history and politics and had asked for permission for his costume.
“This was an innocent mistake by a teacher who is a respected, honourable and lovely person who got it wrong on the day,” she said.
The incident occurred in front of five Year 9 exchange students from Bialik College, a Jewish school in Hawthorn East.
It comes just weeks after a Perth mother painted her son’s skin black for a school Book Week parade because he had wanted to look like his “idol”, AFL footballer Nic Naitanui.
Bialik College principal Jeremy Stowe-Lindner said the students were “saddened” by the incident, but the school was dealing with it appropriately.
“It was an error of judgement on behalf of the school,” he said.
“From what I understand, there was no malice, and not just because there were Jewish kids there but because it was the wrong thing to do.”
He said Bialik students had been holding exchange visits with St Philip’s for six years, and would continue to do so.
St Philip’s College is now reviewing its policies to ensure that a similar incident never occurs.
“The school is providing support and assistance to the teacher, the student, and their family.
“It has been a very distressing lesson for all concerned,” it said.
The B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation Commission, an organisation that raises awareness about anti-Semitism and hate speech, said the student had displayed “disturbing insensitivity”.
The body’s chair Dvir Abramovich called for the federal government to introduce mandatory Holocaust education in all Australian schools.
“I am shocked by the level of ignorance shown by this sad episode. Clearly, this offensive and ill-judged incident is a wake-up call that we all have much work to do in ensuring that all students understands the evils of the Holocaust, and what Hitler represents,” he said.
“This student, who displayed such disturbing insensitivity by choosing to dress up as Hitler, a brutal tyrant who symbolises unbridled hate and genocide, and the teacher who awarded him the prize, must be taught about the results of Hitler’s demonic plan to symmetrically exterminate the Jewish people and the enormous suffering he caused.”
Book Week is celebrated by schools across Australia, and encourages students to dress up as their favourite character from a book.