Thailand School Apologizes To Wiesenthal Center For Nazi Celebration

October 16, 2007                                        

THAILAND SCHOOL APOLOGIZES TO WIESENTHAL CENTER FOR NAZI CELEBRATION

But Jewish NGO remains concerned about recent rash of Nazi imagery and Jewish conspiracy theories throughout Asia

Officials from the Thewphaingarm School in Bangkok, Thailand, apologized to the Simon Wiesenthal Center today after the Center protested a “Sports Day” celebration at the school, which included students, dressed as Nazi stormtroopers, displaying the swastika symbol and giving “zieg heil” salutes.

In an October 1st letter to the school, Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of  the Wiesenthal Center, protested that such an activity mocks the memory of the victims of the Nazi Holocaust and that it has no place in any educational institution. “We are long past the time when such incidents take place in Asia that can be excused due to 'alleged' ignorance of the Nazis' atrocities during World War II," Cooper wrote.

Kanya Khemanan, Director of the Thewphaingarm School, sent an apology to the Center, saying that the Nazi celebration happened mainly due to lack of supervision and that the responsible teacher was removed from his position. “Regarding the students involved in the activities,” Kemanan wrote, “the head students and their teams confirmed that they neither have strong ethics against the Jewish believes [sic], nor support for the killing of millions by the Nazi [sic] during World War II. To them, the display of Nazi uniforms and symbols on the sports day merely represented the absolute order of the Nazi army at that time in history. In their minds, it was not a celebration of Nazism but merely a portrayal of it.” He assured the Center that the school has since held lectures and discussions on the Holocaust. 
       
“While we accept the apology and the corrective measures taken by the school,” said Rabbi Cooper, “we remain concerned about the spate of incidents throughout Asia that glorify Nazi imagery and long debunked theories about Jewish world domination.”

Rabbi Cooper closely monitors how Nazi imagery and antisemitic themes are co-opted in Asia, especially when targeted to the youth market. He travels frequently in the region, meeting with government officials, educational leaders and media professionals to promote a clear understanding of the Holocaust as essential to an educational curriculum. 

See related press release of October 1, 2007...

 

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, and the Council of Europe.

For more information, contact the Center's Public Relations department, 310-553-9036.