Alice Springs student posed as Hitler in front of Jewish visitors

September 11, 2016 by Henry Benjamin
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A student at a private school in Alice Springs dressed as Adolf Hitler at a special Book Assembly attended by an exchange group of Jewish schoolchildren on an exchange from Melbourne.

The principal of St Philip’s College told media that he apologised to the Jewish students and to the principal of Melbourne’s Bialik College.

Jeremy Stowe-Landner

Jeremy Stowe-Lindner

Principal Roger Herbert told the ABC: “In a busy school, this student did go to a respected staff member said ‘is this OK?’ and the staff member said ‘yes'”

Principal of Bialik Jeremy Stowe-Lindner was asked by J-Wire how many from Bialik attended the assembly in Alice Springs.  He told J-Wire that “for security reasons we do not confirm this information other than to say there were middle school children.”

He added in a statement from Bialik:  “Unfortunately things like this do happen in schools and I understand that no malice was intended. The coincidence of Jewish children visiting from Melbourne is a learning opportunity for the St Philips community which the Principal has assured is his number one priority.

The relationship between our two schools is very good, has lasted for over 6 years, and will continue. The speed and proactivity of the response of St Philips staff is to be commended.

When asked about the nature of being given an award – “I agree that it is unfortunate – but from challenges come growth.”

What should St Philips do about it? “They have liaised with students, staff, parents, our children, and it seems that they have taken appropriate action.”

Executive director of The Executive Council of Australian Jewry Peter Wertheim told J-Wire: “We have to remember that for today’s children, and many of their teachers, World War II and the Holocaust are as remote as the Middle Ages.

For many of them, even their grandparents are too young to have lived live through that era.  They have no personal point of connection to it.  It is not embedded in their generation, as it was in earlier generations.

The principals of Bialik college and St Phillips’s College in Alice Springs are to be commended for handling the problem appropriately. “

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