You know when sometimes you reminisce of your high school years (and the tomfoolery they involved) and say: “Ah, to be young and stupid again.”
Well, it’s almost certainly not this stupid.
According to several local and national media outlets, a group of senior students from the German school of Lanús known as Sociedad Escolar y Deportiva Alemana who were on a graduation trip in Bariloche decided to celebrate their coming of age by going to a nightclub “dressed up as a bunch of Nazis.” And once inside, they got into a fight with students from the Buenos Aires ORT school, a very well-known institution that caters mostly to the Jewish community.
The mother of one of the ORT students involved in the incident spoke to La Nación this morning and said that “at one point in the night, a bunch of young people wearing swastikas and with Hitler mustaches painted on their faces arrived. My son and his friends asked the nightclub staff to have them removed from the building, but all they did was ask them to get rid” of the Nazi symbology.
“As you can imagine, just because you wipe the mustache off your face it doesn’t mean you have stopped being a discriminating Nazi. So they got into a fist fight and a few seconds later they were all being kicked out of the nightclub,” she said.
The mayor of Bariloche (because of course the mayor was involved) later spoke on live television and minimized the kerfuffle, telling TN that “there was no fight” because “once security realized what was happening they got in touch with the German school’s chaperon.”
(I mean, sure. Getting the chaperon’s attention might have been the right call but, considering how hard it is to miss that some of the young people you’re supposedly supervising have Hitler mustaches painted on their faces, I’m not really sure their judgement could have defused the situation anyway.)
The mayor did say, though, that it was “a concerning incident” and that the rowdy students had all been banned from all nightclubs in the city.
Now, when you look at all the facts involved it certainly makes you wonder how it is that these idiots from Lanús ever made it this far in the education system.
First of all, they may have tried really hard to express sympathy for the fashion-conscious Third Reich (Hugo Boss, anyone?) but going by one of their photos from last night it looks like the most they could do was emulate the distinct iconography of a Chippendales show from Vegas.
Also, if there’s one place in Argentina you need to take it easy with the Adolf Hitler references, it’s the alpine town of Bariloche. Sure, it’s a very popular tourist destination and Barack Obama was hanging out there a few months ago, but it’s also the place where allegedly a lot of Nazi soldiers escaped to after the end of World War II. Hell, it’s even the place where many conspiracy theorists claim Hitler moved to after faking his death in Berlin! (I’m serious, you can even visit the house he allegedly lived in.)
On top of that, the German school of Lanús is now scrambling to do some damage control and is desperately distancing itself from its students and assuring everyone that they are not a Hitler-adoring institution.
The principal, Silvia Fazio, told Radio 10 today that the school is “shocked, surprised and angry” and that “they study Nazi history and the Holocaust a lot” because it’s a part of the country’s history.
“We work so German culture is not associated to Nazi culture. We are going to work so (the students) can reflect on this. Apologizing is not enough,” she said, adding that “the ORT students also acted poorly” but “one thing doesn’t justify the other.”
(Which to me doesn’t really makes sense because in this cause-effect scenario it’s not like her students decided to play Nazi dress-up because the ORT students were behaving badly. But what do I know.)
The mayor of Bariloche also commented on “the many programs” that the city has to prevent bullying and gender violence.
“But honestly, we don’t work on raising anti-Nazi awareness. We thought this sort of discrimination in the country had been eliminated.”
You and I both, sir.