Children from the King David Victory Park School, Johannesburg, South Africa, had their performance of a play about the Holocaust interrupt by chants of “Heil Hitler” from students from another school.
Middle School students from the School were performing a one act version of The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, a story about a Jewish boy who died in a concentration camp, at a festival at Waterstone College.
One student told a local news source that “they were chanting ‘Heil Hitler, Heil Hitler.’ I was shocked and disgusted. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing”.
Not only did they interrupt the performance to shout this, but reportedly they did so as the scene depicting the child being led to the gas chamber was occurring. They also chanted “Bruno Bruno”, the name of the son of the concentration camp commandant.
The students apparently shouted other antisemitic abuse at the Jewish students as they packed up early to leave the festival. The main culprits are thought to be from Edenvale High School. King David School’s head of drama Renos Spanoudes has also claimed that a member of staff from Edenvale has played down the seriousness of the incident, but apparently some students from the school have expressed their shock at their peers’ behaviour.
Wendy Kahn,from the South African Jewish Board of Deputies, says that her organisation is seeking an audience with Edenvale to discuss the incident, commenting:
“From time to time antisemitic incidents of this nature occur during interschool events, both in the cultural and sporting arenas…We have in the past been involved in addressing these incidents. We do not believe that this is an indication of an upsurge in antisemitism”
The headmaster of Edenvale High School has refused to comment.