Nazi slogans & salutes: 29 German teens face probe over daily practice
A whole class in Germany is under investigation over a public display of Nazi symbols, salutes and phrases, which the students have allegedly been using daily. The scandal may end with a jail term for the teenagers if they are found guilty.
Police have confiscated the conversations of 29 students in the class in eastern Germany. They have been chatting daily on the instant messaging app, WhatsApp, extensively using Nazi slogans and far-right slang.
It seems that the 14-15-year old students – all members of one conversation group on WhatsApp – have been exchanging pictures of themselves: giving Heil Hitler salutes and wearing stuck-on Fuhrer’s moustaches.
As the German BILD newspaper reports, 9A class students at the Landsberg School near Leipzig praised Hitler as a “great man” and made Holocaust jokes. One of the students allegedly wrote: “Why did Hitler kill himself? The Jews sent him the gas bill.”
So far, only two teenagers have been under immediate investigation, while the broader probe will start after a half-term break on Monday. Local media reports that psychologists will be meeting the students next week in an attempt to find out the reasons behind their behavior.
The students’ parents, teachers and authorities were “in shock” after the revelations where made.
Children in Germany, including this 9A class, are thoroughly taught about the Third Reich’s terrible crimes.
“I am shocked. If this is true there can only be one way forward here: zero tolerance!” a spokesman at the state educational affairs ministry in Saxony-Anhalt said.
Under the German Strafgesetzbuch (Criminal Code) any display or other public use of Neo-Nazi symbols, slogans and any form of greetings is punishable with at least six months in jail for the first offense.
In recently times, neo-Nazis across the country have reportedly increased pressure on teenagers luring them to join far-right ranks.
Earlier this year, a headline-grabbing scandal broke out in a German school when it emerged that two neo-Nazis used the Cookie Monster, a character from the children's TV show Sesame Street, to allegedly promote extreme Neo-Nazi ideology.