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California High School Water Polo Team Performs Nazi Salute And Song At Awards Ceremony

California High School Water Polo Team Performs Nazi Salute And Song At Awards Ceremony

There are many who still doubt that extremist political rhetoric being spread by far right conservatives in the United States is having a tangible impact on our culture.

But every day, disturbing hate-fueled incidents seem to be cropping up at an alarming frequency.

In Garden Grove, California, for instance, video of a high school water polo team at an awards ceremony has caused widespread controversy.

In the clip, the team can be seen giving a Nazi salute while singing an obscure Nazi anthem.

According to The Daily Beast, this is the second incident of this nature to be recorded in the area over the past year.

The video was found online after one of the athletes involved posted it to Instagram along with the lyrics to the Nazi anthem in his bio.

It doesn't seem the athlete was very ashamed of his actions.

The players all attended Pacifica High School, part of the Garden Grove Unified School district in Southern California. A spokesperson for the district said that school authorities were made aware of the footage four months later, but did not mention whether any of the athletes were disciplined.

The spokesperson issued a statement saying:

"While the district cannot comment on student discipline, the school did address this situation with all involved students and families. The district adheres to strong policies about harassment and cultural sensitivity, and we condemn all acts of anti-Semitism and hate in all forms."
"We remain focused on educating students about cultural sensitivity and are committed to holding students accountable, educating them on the consequences of their choices, and the impact these actions have on our schools and community at large."

A parent of an uninvolved student from Pacific, who wished to remain anonymous for fear of retaliation from the school's officials, expressed concerns, however, that the school never addressed the community about the video.

Current students echoed this sentiment and were uncertain as to whether any of the students involved faced any disciplinary action.

The director of the Anti Defamation League's Orange County chapter, Rabbi Peter Levi, had this to say about the school's handling of the incident:

"Generally speaking, especially when something like this involves a group, we would think a more meaningful approach would be to use this as a learning opportunity, as an opportunity community-wide to state what our values are..."
"This requires investigation and conversation… We'd like to see a more systematic response."

The song being sung by the water polo players, written by Nazi Herms Niel and sung to inspire German troops from 1935 until 1945, is so obscure that Chapman University professor of extremism Peter Simi was concerned about how the athletes may have found it.

"It's not something you'd expect somebody to accidentally know about. There's some means by which they acquired knowledge about the song and associated Nazi issues."
"Are they on websites or web forums or other social media platforms where they're engaging with others informed on these issues?"

Beth Kean, CEO of the Los Angeles Holocaust Museum, said she would be eager to teach any of the students involved about the horrors Naziism led to.

"I would definitely love to reach out to the principal of [Pacifica High School] and see if we can do the same thing we did with the Newport Harbor students. Once you see those artifacts, you realize what these symbols like the German nationalist song really represent."
"That is really the best way to learn and make sure we can move forward and prevent these types of incidents from happening."

The Nazis were not the allies of the United States nor the good guys in WWII. The documentary Nuremberg: Tyranny on Trial is available here to help people learn why.


Listen to the first episode of George Takei's podcast, 'Oh Myyy Pod!', where we explore the racially charged videos that have taken the internet by storm.

Be sure to subscribe here and never miss an episode.