How Quickly We Forget

The fact that two children have now come to school dressed as Adolf Hitler – and won ‘best costume’ prizes – has gone under far too many peoples’ radars. Worse still, many people who are aware of what happened seem to have blithely disregarded the significance of the events. TMR refuses to do the same.

The relevant incidents were separate and unrelated – occurring in Perth and Alice Springs. In the case of the Perth school, the principal’s behaviour was deeply concerning:

A Perth Catholic school has apologised to parents who were offended by a Year 4 student pretending to be Adolf Hitler being awarded first place in his class at a school dress-up day.

The inner-city school sent out a letter of apology on Wednesday after parents complained about the boy’s character portrayal at a book-week assembly.

The principal said a handful of parents had approached or emailed him after the event to say the costume, which included a swastika, should not have been allowed in the school.

Children had been asked to dress up as a famous character. “He (Hitler) was a fairly famous person,” he said.

[TMR: No, he was the worst mass murderer the world has ever seen and probably the most evil person in the history of humanity – if you want to even try and put it into one sentence].

Two children from each class were judged as having the best costumes. The principal was one of a group of teachers who decided who would win.

[TMR: seriously, how is this possible?].

He said claims that other children had been chanting “Hitler” while the student was on stage were untrue.

“It was a form of voting,” he said. “I would strongly deny that the children were chanting ‘Hitler’, I take strong umbrage to that.”

Other characters’ names were also called out as part of the voting process. “Some people got upset because kids called out Hitler,” he said.

The principal said he did not see anything “sinister” in the student’s choice of character. “To me it’s a mountain out of a molehill,” he said.

Some parents had also objected to children dressing up as “nasty” characters, such as vampires or the grim reaper, he said.

[TMR: Hitler was real, those other characters are not. Neither of these fantasy characters were responsible for the murder of over six million innocent people and starting World War II either].

He did not believe that teachers showed poor judgment by awarding the Hitler costume a place. “I just think it’s a one-off thing that in retrospect we’d do differently,” he said.

[TMR: if it’s all just a ‘mountain out of a molehill’ and you can’t ‘see anything sinister’, then why would you do things ‘differently’?] 

The letter to parents said “a small number of characters were considered by some people to be inappropriate”.

“For all future dress-up activities, teachers will ensure that students and parents are aware of the sensitivities that are associated with particular characters and restrict the choice of characters to those appropriate for primary school-aged students,” it said.

“Junior schoolteachers will debrief students in a very pastoral way in regards to this year’s book-week dress-ups to ensure students understand the significance of their choice of character and the impact it has on other people.

“Once again the college apologises for any umbrage that may have been taken and seeks your pardon to continue to build a vibrant and loving school community.”

In the Alice Springs matter, the principal’s reaction was somewhat better:

IT WAS an idea that should have immediately been dubbed an “ultimate fancy dress fail” before it was brought to fruition.

Instead, a student dressed as Adolf Hitler for Book Week has been awarded a best dressed prize at a special assembly — in front of Jewish exchange students from Melbourne who were visiting the Alice Springs school.

St Philip’s College principal Roger Herbert said it was an error in judgment and apologies had been made to the exchange students who were visiting at the time, the ABC reported.
“We got them together and apologised and they were fantastic, absolutely fantastic, and accepting,” Mr Herbert told the ABC.

“We also contacted the school to say look, this had happened, please understand.”
The student had sought approval to dress as Hitler from a teacher prior to arriving at the school in the costume.

“In a busy school, this student did go to a respected staff member said ‘is this OK?’ and the staff member said ‘yes’,” Mr Herbert said.

“Now she is absolutely shattered that she said that, and I’m really concerned about her wellbeing.”

A statement from a St Philip’s College spokesman to read: “This was an innocent mistake by a teacher who is a respected, honourable and lovely person who got it wrong on the day. [TMR: this is not possible. Either the teacher is dangerously ignorant of the holocaust or, worse still, indifferent to its significance. It is inappropriate to paint the teacher as a victim here – more on this coming below]. 

“We are reviewing our policies on these kind of events to ensure that nothing like this can happen again.

To put this all into perspective, consider the fact that we now officially live in a world where a Perth primary school principal thinks there’s nothing ‘sinister’ with dressing up as Hitler – while wearing a sombrero to a college party is seen as inappropriate, racist, ‘ethic stereotyping’ and ‘cultural appropriation’.

Suffice to say, the children are completely innocent in this matter. No properly educated child would come to school dressed as Adolf Hitler entirely of their own volition unless they are in need of urgent mental assistance. Putting the latter possibility aside, this is something that must have been prompted or allowed by the childrens’ parents or other influential adults in their lives.

The following questions have also been missing in this matter:

  • What kind of parents would allow their child to leave home dressed as Adolf Hitler? What were their reasons for allowing this?
  • Worse still, what kind of parent specifically goes to the effort of procuring a Hitler costume for their Year 4 child?
  • Were the children involved educated on who Adolf Hitler was?
  • In the Alice Springs case, how is it possible that the teacher specifically allowed the child to come to school dressed as Adolf Hitler? (The fact that the child even asked the teacher for permission in the first place raises alarm bells).
  • Was the Alice Springs teacher aware of who Hitler was? If so, then on what basis did the teacher allow the student to proceed with wearing the costume? It is simply not good enough to say it was an ‘innocent mistake’ in ‘a busy school’ here.
  • In the Perth case, how is it possible that a panel of supposedly educated teachers, including the school principal, can judge a Hitler costume as being worthy of an award for best costume?
  • In the Alice Springs case, how was the award for best costume decided at the special assembly? PS: the fact the the many of the school’s teachers would have been present at this special assembly – and watched on as the Hitler costume won the award – completely contradicts the ‘innocent mistake’ by a single teacher in a ‘busy school’ explanation feebly proffered by the principal above.

Also consider the following: it is without doubt that Adolf Hitler is the most evil person anyone can think of in the history of human existence. With this in mind, now think about what the reaction would have been if some children came to school dressed as Martin Bryant, Ivan Milat, one of the Bernies or Brett Cowan (who murdered Daniel Morcombe). Something tells me this would not have been similarly justified or swept aside – and rightly so. So why is Hitler suddenly so fashionable?

I sincerely hope that the Jewish community does not let this issue lie. Answers to the above questions are owed, together with tangible action to educate and prevent this from happening again.

Our society arrogantly proclaims that something like the holocaust couldn’t possibly happen again – as if we are so much smarter and more socially enlightened these days. I beg to differ. If large swathes of people are either ignorant or indifferent to what happened, then the horror clearly becomes possible again (whether it manifests against Jews or some other group of society is irrelevant). After all, how can you say something will ‘never again’ happen if the masses are not aware that it happened in the first place?

 “Monsters exist, but they are too few in number to be truly dangerous. More dangerous are the common men, the functionaries ready to believe and to act without asking questions.”

Primo Levi


A note about the feature image to this post

This is a confronting monument of a ‘kneeling Jew’ and is located in the Albertinaplatz in Vienna. It is designed to be a stark reminder of the unthinkable ways in which an innocent group of civilians were treated by their very own society.

Among other things, it reminds us of the November 1938  ‘Kristallnacht’ in Vienna where Jewish synagogues and businesses were bombed, set on fire, ransacked and vandalised – all while the police and fire brigades watched on and facilitated the process. Many Jews were killed. Those that weren’t, were made to get on their knees in front of everybody else and clean up the shattered glass and other mess that was created.

The monument also serves as a reminder to an often unknown or forgotten reality of the time. Jews at the time were all required to wear the yellow Star of David with the word ‘Jude’ (i.e. Jew) written on it. Those caught by police not wearing the Star in public were often shot and killed on the spot. Those who did wear the Star were easily identifiable by the police for ‘special tasks’ – such as being made to immediately get on their knees and scrub the sidewalk with toothbrushes in front of laughing crowds.

7 thoughts on “How Quickly We Forget”

  1. I’m a bit puzzled as to why kids dressing up as Hitler is quite the big deal you seem to think.

    Yes, in the second example, the juxtaposition of a Jewish group on the day was at very best very uncomfortable. I can see why an apology was offered.

    But it is just kids dressing up, and Hitler is undeniably a historic figure of, shall we say, some renown!

    If the Principal in the first case had actually gone on record as banning sombreros and so forth as “cultural appropriation” you might have some sort of point, but I think that is just what we might term a false conflation (i.e. you made it up). Some other people have done that, and the fact that they are idiots is not at all germane here.

    If your position is that all dressing up as evil historical figures (as defined by whom, one might ask) is to be banned, then I think that is problematic. How do kids get to understand who the bad guys are if they are to be expunged from history?


    1. Hi mct, thanks for stopping by and commenting. I do not agree that I have engaged in any form of false conflation. I was simply stating fact: in one part of the world, we have the banning of sombreros actually being discussed – while in another part of the world, dressing up as Hitler is being argued as no big deal. At no stage did I suggest or imply that the principal concerned was also on board with banning sombreros. I was simply illustrating how absurd and inconsistent the world is at times.

      Saying that Hitler was of ‘some renown’ glosses entirely over what Hitler did and the worldwide suffering which he caused – which should never be forgotten if we want to prevent it from ever happening again.

      Common sense should always prevail and banning should not be necessary. You surely wouldn’t advocate a Year 4 child dressing up as Martin Bryant or Brett Cowan on the basis that we should “understand who the bad guys are”, so why is Hitler ok?

      Lastly, kids do not need to dress up as Hitler in order to understand who he was or to prevent him from being ‘expunged from history’. Basic education in our schools is what is needed.


    2. Marcus’s reply to your comment illustrates clearly that you either didn’t read his post or didn’t understand it. Pointless trying to add any further explanation. I personally am not puzzled that people like you are puzzled by something as easily comprehended and fundamentally important as this brilliant post by TMR. Your transition into dementia will continue smoothly.


    3. Alas, your comments demonstrate that TMR appears to be too intricate a literature for you to follow and understand.

      So to simplify it for you – would you still consider it just a bit uncomfortable if a child won first price for dressing up like the person that was responsible for the murder of several of your family members?


  2. Whereas if you enrol in a “university” ‘social’ policy course, the institution hands you a Mao or Lenin badge. And “the worst mass murderer the world has ever seen” would be Mao, according to Chang & Halliday et al – 60 mill [at least] peace time deaths. And his heirs are currently exceeding Mengeles in industrial-scale unanaethetised vivisections for profit: “Bloody Harvest/The Slaughter: An Update” 2016. And they plan to double the number of these Crimes Against Humanity within 5 years.


    1. Surely you are not saying that because – according to you – Mao killed perhaps more innocent people that it is ok for children to be dressed up as Hitler and win best dressed prices?


      1. Thanks for this, Micmac. We are on the same page here, I suspect. I wish to compare the issue in the children’s environment [appropriately addressed by our host, TMR], with the apparent current approval of the taxpayer-provided “adult” university environment for arguably 1. worse monsters, and 2. the silence of ‘civil society’ re current crimes against humanity of unspeakable depravity and quantity, aided by Australia’s ‘elite’ medical industrialists, universities, quangos and Government. A widely known Atrocities Industry since 2006.


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