Belgian Teacher Tells Jewish Student: 'We Should Put You All on Freight Wagons'

Brussels teacher summoned to appear before board for 'inciting racism' and 'anti-Semitism'; teacher also told student to 'go back to Poland' while imitating German accent.

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A Belgian paratrooper keeps guard outside a Jewish school in the central city of Antwerp January 17, 2015.
A Belgian paratrooper keeps guard outside a Jewish school in the central city of Antwerp January 17, 2015. Credit: Reuters
JTA
JTA

A Brussels high school teacher was summoned to appear before a local school board for telling a Jewish student, “We should put you all on freight wagons.”

The incident occurred at the Belgian capital’s Emile Jacqmain school and involved a 16-year-old female student and her mathematics teacher, the La Derniere Heure magazine reported Friday.

The teacher, who was not identified, was summoned to appear before the board following a complaint filed against him for inciting racism and anti-Semitic hatred. The student, according to the report, told the teacher that “one does not joke about such subjects.”

Tens of thousands of Belgian Jews, along with countless other Jews from across Europe, were transported by the Nazis to deaths in cattle and freight wagons.

Moments earlier, the teacher reportedly told a pupil with a Polish-sounding last name to “go back to Poland” while imitating a German accent.

Four days after the “freight wagons” incident, the teacher said publicly at school, “I did not mean to say it, and I apologized to anyone shocked by it.”

But the pupil’s parents filed a complaint, which the school board processed promptly, earning praises from Joel Rubinfeld, president of the Belgian League Against Anti-Semitism, or LBCA. Rubinfeld told the RTL broadcaster that the school’s action was exemplary.

“My feeling is that this teacher meant to say exactly what he said, and that this is yet another example of the anti-Semitism that is making life increasingly difficult for Belgian Jews here,” he told JTA on Monday.

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