Auckland students caught worshipping a swastika

October 19, 2009 by Henry Benjamin
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A page on Facebook featuring Auckland Grammar School pupils kneeling in homage in front of a swastika has been reported to Radio New Zealand.The page showed photographs taken at Auckland War Memorial Museum more than six months ago in which an estimated dozen boys are on camera making Nazi salutes and kissing the swastika.

The offending pages were leaked to the radio station over the weekend and school headmaster John Morris learned the news this morning.

Stephen Goodman is the President of both the New Zealand Jewish Council and the Auckland Jewish Council and has two boys attending Auckland Grammar.

He told J-Wire: “There have been minor antisemitic incidents over the years but they were dealt with swiftly. There has never been anything on this scale. I have copies of the offending photographs but the images are not to be shown publicly although Radio New Zealand has put them on the web.”

There is no Jewish Holocaust museum in Auckland. The permanent display the boys visited is the main source of information in Auckland on the Holocaust and the city’s Jewish community was instrumental in setting it up including the submission of the oral history of survivors.

Goodmand added: “I have spoken at length with the headmaster and have been assured that there will be swift action. The boys’ parents have been called in. This school is more than 150 years old and enjoys a very strong reputation within the city.”

The Holocaust does not feature in the New Zealand education syllabus. Goodman told J-Wire that representations had been made in the past to have it included but without success. He said: “We have to persist in our efforts to make this happen. There is no doubt that ignorance plays a strong part in this type of behaviour.”

The incident has been condemned by the  Returned Services Association.

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