Jewish Board to meet school after 'anti-Semitic' chants during school play

2017-05-26 21:58
School desks. (File, Duncan Alfreds, News24)

School desks. (File, Duncan Alfreds, News24)

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Johannesburg – A Johannesburg school is in hot water after learners allegedly made Nazi salutes and anti-Semitic comments during a school play about the Holocaust.

National director of the South African Jewish Board of Deputies, Wendy Kahn, said the board had investigated reports alleging that learners from that school chanted "Heil Hitler, Heil Hitler" during a play called The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas performed by pupils from King David Victory Park school.

The play took place during an inter-school festival last Thursday, said Kahn.

"Learners from another school started making [Adolf] Hitler Nazi salutes and anti-Semitic comments on Holocaust analogy. The issue is that the learners had done this but there was very little action from the teachers from that particular school in calming the learners down and dealing with the situation at the time," said Kahn.

She said it was concerning that the incident happened in full view of teachers.   

"There has been very little comment from the school and very little condemnation from them since the indecent happened."

'Hateful' statements

She said the South African Jewish Board of Deputies would be meeting with the school where these learners attend on Monday.  

"We have investigated the matter and we are aware of what happened. We will be meeting with the principal with the view to understanding what pre-empted this kind of hate.

"And also finding ways of how we can address this matter in a constructive educational way so that we can move forward. But certainly, we are concerned that there had not been condemnation from the school."

She said it was shocking that learners from a school in Johannesburg, despite there being Holocaust education in the curriculum, could still say such hateful statements to Jewish learners.

"The majority of Jews in South Africa and around the world have in some way been touched by the Holocaust, through losing a family member or knowing someone who has lost a family member. This is something very worrying."

Kahn said she was hoping that a way forward could be found and hopefully prevent this incident from happening in future.

"I don’t think that this behaviour is being promoted at the school but we need to find ways of the school educating and discouraging all forms of hatred, be it racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, homophobia and all forms of hatred particularly in the schooling system," she said.  

This story has been updated.

Read more on:    adolf hitler  |  jews  |  johannesburg

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