An Australian school employee is being investigated after he brought firearms to class, baked a cake with a swastika on it and let a student dress up in a Nazi hat for a World War II history lesson.
The Dromana Secondary College employee also allowed students to play with a Zyklon B gas cannister, which once contained a deadly chemical used for mass murder in concentration camp death chambers.
The items were part of his personal collection of military memorabilia.
It has been described by Victoria’s education department as a “serious error of judgement”.
The state agency told The Age newspaper that “using symbols or artefacts in a way that may normalise or trivialise the actions of the Nazis is completely unacceptable”.
The employee, who is not a teacher at the school, then uploaded photos to Facebook of the students posing with rifles, inspecting the gas cannisters and wearing caps with a Nazi eagle.
A concerned individual alerted the Anti-Defamation Commission, which fights anti-Semitism.
Dr Dvir Abramovich, the organisation’s chairman, said he was shocked and heartbroken.
He said the Holocaust, during which six million Jews and millions of others were murdered, should not be the subject of funny games and entertainment.
“Many lines of decency have been crossed here and most people would be at a loss for words to understand how this could have happened,” he said.
Dromana Secondary College principal Alan Marr said the incident did not meet the standards of his staff and they are investigating what happened in order to take appropriate action.
“The intent of the history lesson was to educate students about the impact of World War II but some of the items brought into the class were entirely inappropriate,” he said.
“We apologise for any impact this incident may have had on our students or any distress it may have caused to members of the community.”