'Nazis Killed Jews Because They Ruined Christmas,' D.C. School Staffer Told Third-graders

The staff member at the Washington, D.C. school also reportedly told students to reenact Holocaust scenes, like dying in a gas chamber

Shira Hanau
A visitor looks at Nazi propaganda at an exhibition in France designed by the Washington Holocaust Memorial Museum, earlier this month.
A visitor looks at Nazi propaganda at an exhibition in France designed by the Washington Holocaust Memorial Museum, earlier this month.Credit: Nicolas TUCAT / AFP
Shira Hanau

Students at a Washington, D.C. elementary school were instructed by a staff member to reenact scenes from the Holocaust Friday, according to the Washington Post. When the students asked why the Germans killed Jews, the staff member said it was “because the Jews ruined Christmas.”

The third-graders at Watkins Elementary School were supposed to be working on projects in the library Friday when the staff member told the students to reenact scenes from the Holocaust.

According to the report, the woman told one student, who is Jewish, to play the role of Adolf Hitler and to pretend to commit suicide. Another student was told to pretend that he was on a train to a concentration camp and then to act as if he were dying in a gas chamber.

The woman told the students not to tell anyone about the reenactment, but the students told their homeroom teacher. The staff member was placed on leave that same day.

The school’s principal, Scott Berkowitz, condemned the incident in an email to parents and said all students in the class met with the school’s mental health team.

“I want to acknowledge the gravity of this poor instructional decision, as students should never be asked to act out or portray any atrocity, especially genocide, war, or murder,” Berkowitz said in the email.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:



Automatic approval of subscriber comments.

Subscribe today and save 40%

Already signed up? LOG IN


נתניהו עם כיפה שחורה על הראש נשען בשתי ידיו על הכותל

Israel Is Heading for Its Most 'Jewish' Election Ever

An El Al jet sits on the tarmac at John C. Munro International Airport in Hamilton, Thursday, in 2003.

El Al to Stop Flying to Toronto, Warsaw and Brussels

FILE PHOTO: A Star of David hangs from a fence outside the dormant landmark Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh's Squirrel Hill neighborhood in 2021.

American Judaism Is in Decline. That's Great News for American Jews

Crowds at Israel's Ben-Gurion International Airport, in April.

U.S. Official: West Bank Entry for Palestinian Americans Unrelated to Israeli Visa Waivers

Haaretz spoke with several people who said they had fled Ukraine, arrived in Israel,  and were asked to undergo DNA tests in order to establish paternity.

'My Jewish Grandmother Has a Number on Her Arm, Why Does Israel Greet Me This Way?'

People taking part in the annual "March of the Living" to commemorate the Holocaust, between the former death camps of Auschwitz and Birkenau in Oswiecim, Poland, four years ago.

It’s Not Just the Holocaust. Israel Is Failing to Teach the History of the Jews