German police are investigating a secretive neo-Nazi fan club that was formed in WhatsApp by teenagers from the Landsberg School near Leipzig.
The Times of Israel reports that making the Hitler salute or using Third Reich symbols like the swastika is illegal according to German law. However, that didn’t stop a ninth grade class from the Landsberg School from creating a “secret” WhatsApp group to share their right-wing jokes and extremist propaganda in private with other classmates. In the group, students can be seen giving a Hitler salute and references Hitler as a “great person.” The report also indicates that members also began chats with each other using the banned expression “Deutschland – Sieg Heil!” (Germany! Hail Victory!).
The school claims that the group was made of one particular ninth grade class and no other classes were involved. However, the class did have a single Jewish student whose father was shocked by the allegations against the class. Eli Gampel, 54, whose son is the only Jewish student in the class, notes that his son was somewhat picked on in the class.
“My boy told me that on the hood of his jacket someone had stuck a far-right NPD [National Democratic Party] sticker. It was well-known, it seems, that he was Jewish. I thought it was a bad dream when I opened the newspapers and read the article.”
Gampel also said that his son had never mentioned the anti-Semitic incidents until the father read about them in the newspaper and asked.
“Even after I read about it, I found it difficult to get my son to talk about what went on. It was only through a lengthy discussion that he admitted what was in the newspaper article was essentially true. Of course the content of what was being discussed made him sad and he felt discriminated against.”
The Blaze spoke with Dr. Efraim Zuroff, director of the Israel office of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish human rights group, who was not pleased with the reports about the teens.
“There is something very rotten in the German province of Saxony. The situation in this respect in former East Germany is cause for concern. Despite decades of ‘anti-fascist’ education, neo-Nazi ideas have found numerous supporters in recent years. In that respect, some people just switched their extremist brand from Communist totalitarianism to neo-Nazi totalitarianism.”
Since the police investigation, the class made a public statement apologizing about the WhatsApp chats and photos, noting they were a “joke” that got out of control.
What do you think the punishment should be for the class creating the “Hitler Fan Club?”