Taiwan’s Presidential Office demanded that a local high school apologize to Israel and Germany after photos emerged showing dozens of students dressed in Nazi-themed uniforms, waving swastikas and giving a Nazi salute during a school event Saturday.
The photos from a celebration at the Kuang-fu High School in Hsinchu City were posted online to the Facebook account of a user named Pixar Lu, drawing condemnation from local Israeli and German officials.
In the pictures, students can also be seen standing in formation and lining up behind a cardboard German tank while a student sitting on top gives a Nazi salute.
The Presidential Office said in a statement that the display showed “ignorance” of history and was disrespectful to the Jewish people, the Taipei Times reported.
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“We feel it is extremely disrespectful to the Jewish people who had been victims of the oppression perpetrated during wars, but more importantly, it highlighted ignorance about history,” the statement read.
“Education authorities should require the school to shoulder responsibility by seriously reflecting on the incident, understand and improve education in related fields of study and apologize to the countries it offended.”
The Israel Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei issued a statement on its Facebook page condemning the incident.
“It is deplorable and shocking that seven decades only after the world had witnessed the horrors of the Holocaust, a high school in Taiwan is supporting such an outrageous action as we witnessed yesterday at Hsinchu Kuang Fu Senior High School,” wrote Israeli representative to Taiwan Asher Yarden. “We strongly condemn this tasteless occurrence and call on the Taiwanese authorities, in all levels, to initiate educational programs which would introduce the meaning of the Holocaust and teach its history and universal meaning.”
— The Straits Times (@STcom) December 25, 2016
According to the report, Taiwanese Education Minister Pan Wen-chung also officially apologized and the Education Ministry was said to be considering cutting subsidies to the private school.
The school later apologized for the incident, the Taiwan News reported, with the principal and dean publicly bowing to show remorse. The school admitted it had not adequately reviewed the plans for the celebration and promised that the incident would not recur.
— Taiwan News (@TaiwanNews886) December 25, 2016
The German Institute Taipei also denounced the parade, writing on its Facebook page, “Sadly, the students clearly do not understand that the Nazi symbol stands for disregard for human rights and oppression.”
During World War I Taiwan was a colony under Nazi Germany’s ally Japan.