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Taiwanese principal resigns over Nazi parade

December 27, 2016

Students parading in Nazi uniforms, a teacher giving the Hitler salute - these pictures from a Taiwanese school parade caused an international stir. Now the principal of the school has resigned.

Taiwan Schule entschuldigt sich für Nazi-Parade
Image: picture alliance/Kuang Fu High School/Handout

The head of a Taiwanese school that drew international attention with a Nazi-inspired parade has resigned. Cheng Hsiao-ming said he would take responsibility for the incident, but also punish other responsible school officials. 

"I apologize to the victims and the public," he said on Sunday. "We made a mistake and I will take the responsibility to step down." 

On Friday, students at Kuang Fu High School, a private school in the city of Hsinchu in northern Taiwan, had dressed up in Nazi uniforms and held up swastika banners during a parade celebrating the school's 62nd anniversary. Videos and photos of the event were posted on social media and quickly caused a stir. According to the AFP news agency, a teacher was also part of the parade and was shown in photos giving a Hitler salute from a tank made out of cardboard boxes.

"Deplorable and shocking"

In a post on Facebook, the Israel Economic and Cultural Office in Taipei condemned the event and called for a better education on the Holocaust: "It is deplorable and shocking that only seven decades after the world witnessed the horrors of the Holocaust, a high school in Taiwan is supporting such an outrageous action."

Taiwan - Schule entschuldigt sich für Nazi-Performance
The German Institute Taipei said students were apparently unaware what the Nazi symbols representedImage: picture-alliance/dpa/Kuang Fu High School/Handout

The German Institute Taipei said it was regrettable that students at the school were apparently unaware that the Nazi symbols displayed in the parade represented "a disregard for human life and oppression".

The education minister of Taiwan on Saturday apologized for the parade and asked that the school immediately improve students' history education.

This is not the first scandal of its kind in Taiwan. In 2011, a chain store in the country was widely criticized for selling key rings and magnets sporting a Hitler lookalike, but the company claimed the resemblance was unintentional. Across eastern Asia, Hitler and Nazi symbols sometimes pop up in fashion, popular culture and advertisements. The "Taipei Times" newspaper reported that some students chose the Nazi uniforms because they could be easily copied from the school uniforms students wear.

mb/sms (AP, AFP, dpa)