‘I Was Pretty Great, Wasn’t I?’: Outrage Over Display of Flattering Hitler Bio at New Jersey Elementary School
A top education official in New Jersey has confirmed that her office is “reviewing the facts” of a scandal at an elementary school in the town of Tenafly, where a flattering biography of Adolf Hitler written in the Nazi leader’s voice hung in the hallway for several weeks.
“We understand that tensions are running high and that our community is extremely upset. We share those feelings,” Shauna C. DeMarco — Superintendent of Tenafly Public Schools — said in a statement on Monday.
“We are reviewing all of the facts surrounding this matter and will provide an update this week,” DeMarco said.
Tenafly is home to a large Jewish population, including a significant community of emigre Israelis. According to local census data, more than 3 percent of households in the district speak Hebrew at home.
The one-page bio of Hitler, written in the first person, was displayed in the hallway of Maugham Elementary School with similar assignments from other students starting in April, according to Englewood resident Lori Birk, who posted a picture of the report on Facebook, according to the NorthJersey.com website.
“My greatest accomplishment was uniting a great mass of German and Austrian people behind me,” the student wrote in pencil on a paper circle titled “Accomplishments.”
“I was pretty great, wasn’t I?” it declared.
The text continued, “I was very popular and many people followed me until I died.” There was only one mention of the Nazi Holocaust. “My belif [sic] in antisemitism drove me to kill more than 6 million Jews,” the student wrote.
Alongside her Facebook posting, Birk wrote: “This is a county filled with children and grandchildren of Holocaust survivors. As there are fewer survivors still alive, we must remember and teach our children the atrocities of this monster and not his ‘Accomplishments.'”
Another parent wrote that the student report represented a “wake up call for Jews.”
“We’ll always be different no matter the 21st-century enlightened calls for universal values of blindness to difference,” Joshua Tenzer posted.
The full text of the student’s biography read as follows:
“My greatest accomplishment was uniting a great mass of German and Austrian people behind me. I rose to power as the leader of the Nazi party, becoming chancellor in 1933 and then assuming the title of Führer and Reichskanzler in 1934. I was pretty great, wasn’t I? I was very popular and many people followed me until I died. My belif in antisemitism drove me to kill more than 6 million Jews.”
Editor’s note: this article was updated to correct the description of the Tenafly school