Way forward on Edenvale "Heil Hitler" incident

Yesterday, the SA Jewish Board of Deputies (SAJBD) together with the Principal of King David Victory Park Mr Andrew Baker met with Dr Larry Harmer, Principal of Edenvale High. The aim of the meeting was to find a way forward, following an incident that took place when Nazi slogans and gestures were directed against Jewish learners from King David Victory Park by learners from Edenvale High at an inter-school one-act play competition. This was in the context of a performance by King David of the Holocaust-themed drama ‘The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas’.

During the meeting, it was confirmed that at least one Edenvale learner had made offensive comments at the event, for which he had since expressed sincere remorse. Dr Harmer likewise unequivocally apologised for any offense caused and undertook to work with the SAJBD in introducing, through the Johannesburg Holocaust & Genocide Centre, an educational and sensitivity training programme at his school to prevent any recurrence of incidents of this nature.

SAJBD National Director Wendy Kahn stressed that while chants of ‘Heil Hitler’ and similar acts of identification with the ideology of Nazism were unacceptable under any circumstances, they were especially hurtful when the intention was to bait and insult Jewish people. As was well known, she said, Nazi tyranny had resulted in the systematic mass murder of some three-quarters of European Jewry during World War II. For that reason, Jews found it deeply hurtful, and indeed threatening, to be confronted with crass taunts expressing support for the Nazi ideology.

The SAJBD welcomes Edenvale High’s unequivocal condemnation of the incident. It further appreciates the willingness shown by the school to implement appropriate measures aimed at sensitising its learners to the importance of avoiding behaviour likely to cause hurt and offense, whether on the basis of race, religion, ethnicity or any other such grounds.

For more information please contact Wendy Kahn on 082 444 3675 or email wendy@sajbd.org

Recent Articles

Successful Israeli Parliamentary Delegation reaffirms importance of dialogue

A delegation of Israeli Members of Parliament (Knesset) is currently on an official visit to South Africa. The delegation has met with leaders across the South African political spectrum, including with the ANC, DA, Cope, ACDP, IFP & FF+. The delegation also met with Jewish and Christian organisations, as well as the Business community.

Durban Jewish Exhibition

Since its initial conceptualisation in 1919, the historic Durban Jewish Club has been not only the centre of Jewish communal life in Durban, but a frequently used public space for the broader society. The building itself, "surrounded by bush, rippling dunes of corrugated white sand mingled with ochre earth", was officially opened on 4 May 1931. Since then, it has been host to generations of people, with a history that has witnessed wars and political unrest, conferences and public meetings and music and theatre performances. 

Sara Gon compares the experience of Penny Sparrow with that of Bongani Masuku

“COSATU has got members here even on this campus; we can make sure that for that side it will be hell”

“COSATU is with you, we will do everything to make sure that whether its at Wits University, whether its at Orange Grove, anyone who does not support equality and dignity, who does not support the rights of other people must face the consequences even if it means that we will do something that may necessarily cause what is regarded as harm…”