School students to apologise for Nazi behaviour in New Zealand


Wellington : Several New Zealand secondary school students who kissed a swastika and made Nazi salutes at the country’s Auckland war museum are to apologise Tuesday for their actions.

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The five boys from the public school Auckland Grammar were also photographed kneeling in homage before a Nazi banner, at the museum exhibition to mark the 70th anniversary of the beginning of World War II.

A participant uploaded the images to the popular social-networking website Facebook, but they have since been removed.

Auckland Grammar Principal John Morris told New Zealand’s Television One news that the students were interviewed after the school was notified of the photos. The students understood what the symbols represented and would apologise Tuesday to museum staff for their actions.

New Zealand Jewish Council President Stephen Goodman said the teenagers should have known better. He told Radio New Zealand that the students’ behaviour “trivialises the Holocaust, and it trivialises the suffering that people went through.”

“I don’t believe there was any true malicious intent, but anything that trivialises suffering dooms us to repeat history rather than learn from it,” Goodman said.

The apology follows another incident at one New Zealand university, in which 15 students dressed as Nazis and concentration camp victims for a Sep 18 Oktoberfest party.

Lincoln University said the students must each visit the Holocaust Museum in Wellington, submit a 2,000-word essay and pay a fine of $200 for their party at the university residence halls.