Don’t Let School Become Training Ground for Next-Gen Nazis

Target: Bettina Stark-Watzinger, Minister of Education and Research for Germany

Goal: Confront growth of far-right extremism among students in east Germany.

“Schools should be places free of fear, full of open-mindedness and safety for everyone and cannot provide a home for the enemies of democracy.” So concluded a letter from two German teachers who called out how “extremist statements, actions, slogans, homophobia and sexism were and are the order of the day” at their high school. Among the troubling claims were the increasing prevalence of Nazi salutes and swastika imagery perpetrated by some students. These teachers had tried to address and lessen the problematic behaviors (that had spread to threats of violence against other students) through education, to no avail. They turned to public outreach, perhaps expecting support and aid from school leaders and from the community. What they received was far more disturbing.

Administrators seemingly shrugged their shoulders. A group of parents actually lobbied for the firing of the teachers. Social media lit up with threats against them, including one message that reportedly said “hunt them down.” Threatening photos featuring the pair were also allegedly posted around the area. Far-right extremist groups have apparently gained a foothold in the east German town where this incident took place, and soon other towns in the region were reporting similar behaviors at their schools. The teachers, Laura Nickel and Max Teske, were eventually pressured into resigning and leaving the town. This move was celebrated by local politicians who called them “cowards” and attempted to justify the students’ behaviors.

This incredibly troubling pattern is apparently being upheld by adults who should know better (including high-ranking professionals), and if it does not stop it could lead—as it historically has before in Germany—to unimaginable consequences. Sign the petition below to demand this nation live up to its oath of “never again.”

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Minister Stark-Watzinger,

“History repeats itself, and I believe that we must definitely do something now to put a stop to anti-democratic parties in Germany.” This statement was made by an east German teacher who has just lived through threats to her well-being for condemning growing extremist Nazi sentiment among her students. Instead of support, this teacher and her colleague were seemingly met with indifference from school officials and hostility from local leaders and communities that should have been backing their efforts. Now they are gone from their positions, and the disturbing behaviors of this nation’s next generation will only fester and grow.

Germany has a grave responsibility to ensure the tragedies and atrocities of the past do not take root again. It has historically honored this responsibility with actions such as making the Nazi salute (which students have allegedly been performing in large numbers) illegal and removing statues and other icons celebrating Nazi leaders. But if you do not make stopping the radicalization of your youngest citizens a top priority, you will be complicit in a very frightening future.

Please do everything in your power to affirm the ultimate lesson of history: those who do not learn from the past are doomed to repeat it.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo Credit: German Federal Archive


One Comment

  1. Gilda Provenzano says:

    FUCKING NAZIS ALL OVER THE PLACE!! Let one of these fuckers deny the Holocaust and they go to jail!! That is the law in Germany.

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