School Where Students Sang Nazi Song, Gave Hitler Salute Won't Say If Teens Were Disciplined

Members of a high school sports team in California reportedly sang a song used by the Third Reich and gave the Nazi salute during an awards ceremony earlier this year.

The Daily Beast first reported the news, citing a video shared to Instagram by one of Pacifica High School's water polo team members. The song and the salute that followed were reportedly done during an award ceremony which was held in December 2018, though it was unclear when the student posted the video to his Instagram account.
The song the athletes sang is rather obscure, Peter Simi, a Chapman University professor of extremism studies, told The Daily Beast.
"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?," Simi said.
The song was written by German composer Herms Niel, who wrote dozens of military marches and songs for the Third Reich. Niel, a member of the Nazi party, served in the paramilitary, but he later rose through the ranks to become the conductor of all the bands utilized by the Reich Labour Service. Known formally as the Reichsarbeitsdienst, or RAD, the bands performed as part of Adolf Hitler's Nazi rallies.
The song sang by the students, Simi told The Daily Beast, was used to motivate Nazi troops.
Nazi flag
A gallery assistant poses with a captured Nazi swastika flag, signed by original members of the SAS, listing their missions in Africa during World War II, at the National Army Museum on March 15, 2018 in London, England. "Special Forces: In the Shadows" is a new exhibition, exploring the background and equipment used by the British Army Special Forces, and runs from 17 March to 18 November 2018. Leon Neal/Getty
Pacifica High School, located in Garden Grove, California, is part of the Garden Grove Unified School District. A spokesperson for the district told The Daily Beast that the district was made aware of the video in March, four months after the awards ceremony.
However, the district did not tell The Daily Beast if any of the students were disciplined for their actions.
"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," the district said in a statement. "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 with a student attending Pacifica High School expressed concern that school officials have never publicly addressed the issue, despite the video reportedly being circulated among the student body. A student at the school, who also requested anonymity, told The Daily Beast that administrators have never spoken about the incident and that it wasn't clear if anyone involved was suspended from school.
While the reasoning or motivation behind the song and salute is unknown, the incident is just one of several with anti-Semitic tones to occur in California this year. In March, teenagers in Newport Beach, California — located approximately 13 miles from Garden Grove — were filmed playing a game with red plastic cups arranged in the form of a swastika.
The photo quickly went viral and received condemnation from several organization along with California congresswoman Katie Porter, who represents the 45th district.
"I condemn this display of a hateful, anti-Semitic symbol and call on parents and community leaders to redouble our efforts to educate young people about the history of violence against Jewish people worldwide. This has no place in Orange County," Porter said on Twitter at the time.
That same month, police responded to reports of two swastikas drawn in blood in a Los Angeles neighborhood near a Holocaust museum. In April, teens in San Dimas, California were accused of burning a swastika into the yard of a 69-year-old man and of burning the same symbol into asphalt in two locations in nearby Covina.
In May, a woman posted Nazi graffiti and flyers around Newport Harbor High School and Fullerton College in Fullerton, California. While charged with one misdemeanor count of vandalism under $400 and two misdemeanor counts of graffiti, Grace Elisabeth Ziesmer avoided hate crime charges in the incident.