HSINCHU CITY, TAIWAN — A group of Taiwanese students goose-stepped into worldwide infamy by parading around as Nazi soldiers at a cosplay event last Friday.
The incident happened during the annual celebration at Kuang Fu High School in the northern city of Hsinchu. History teacher Liu Hsi-cheng said his students voted to dress up as Nazis for the festivities, rejecting his own idea of an Arabic cosplay theme, reported Taiwan’s Apple Daily newspaper.
The students wore black Nazi uniforms with swastika armbands and waved Nazi flags. One even rode in a cardboard tank doing the Nazi salute. When photos of the parade were shared on the school’s Facebook page and an online academic bulletin board, they went viral, sparking outrage in Taiwan.
Taiwan’s Presidential Office called the incident “regrettable” and “disappointing.” And
both Germany and Israel’s diplomatic missions issued statements condemning the Nazi cosplay.
Israel’s office said it was “deplorable and shocking,” while the German Institute in Taipei said it was unfortunate the students didn’t understand that Nazi symbols represent “the oppression of human rights.”
On Sunday, the school’s principal took full responsibility for the incident and resigned.
Teacher Liu, who double-majored in Eastern and Western history in college, said he was sorry and asked the public to give his students a second chance. He told Apple Daily that he had failed in his duties as a teacher. He said he should have explained to his students why dressing up as Nazis was bad.
In an unrelated incident, a man and a boy were photographed last Saturday on Taipei’s metro wearing Waffen-SS and Hitler Youth uniforms.