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Padua won the Halloween prize for best costume dressed as student SS.  The dismay of the Jewish community

Padua won the Halloween prize for best costume dressed as student SS. The dismay of the Jewish community

Award for wearing an SS uniform at a Halloween party. It happened in Padua. During the pumpkin festival at the English International School, Padua, a student arrived in a Wehrmacht uniform with a Nazi swastika. It was, in fact, awarded ‘Best Dressed of the Evening’.

Shocked parents and students reported the episode by sending emails to the school and the Jewish community. The communities of Padua and Venice inform Corriere del VenetoThey themselves highlighted the incident through a letter to the school and the Education Minister Giuseppe ValditaraTo the President Luca Zaya and to the head of the Italian Jewish communities Nomi de Seigny. “We learn about this episode – we read in the letter we signed Dario CalimaniHead of the Jewish community of Venice and from Gianni Barenzo, head of the Jewish community of Padua – it seems redundant to highlight the severity of similar behavior in an educational institution. We further regret that the student was rewarded for the originality of the costume, thus legitimizing the sad message that this uniform is spreading and history has been a sad witness to this.

The school immediately tried to deal with the situation with families and students. “Dear parents – he wrote – we are writing to inform you of an unfortunate incident that occurred during the Halloween party.
A student was dressed in a German uniform with an attack symbol. We would like to apologize for what happened. Unfortunately, we were not immediately aware of the severity of the situation. We feel it is appropriate to make it clear that it is absolutely not the intention of the school or its staff to allow or promote such an offensive symbol.”

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An oversight, a misunderstanding? “For us the situation is very serious,” Barenzo clarifies. And he calls on the school to “subject students to a radical reflection by inviting a representative of the Jewish community and other categories (homosexuals, Sindhis, disabled) murdered in the Nazi extermination camps.” The school, while waiting to schedule meetings, underlined that “the institution embraces diversity, tolerance and respect for all cultures and religions.” The principal and administrators also met with the boy’s family and outlined the seriousness of the incident and confirmed that there will be more control measures in place at future school events.