The following is a statement from the two MIHS students recently pictured doing the Nazi salute. This remark was also given to the Mercer Island Reporter. Media sources around the Mercer Island community are continuing to cover this story.
“We are the two children captured in a photo imitating a Nazi salute. We think it is so important to first say we do not hold anti-Semitic views and do not think the Holocaust or Nazis are a joking matter.
The day the photograph was taken, it was a Snow Day and a large group of us were at the Lid Park hanging out with friends and playing in the snow. One of us had hair that was wet from the snow that was parted and slicked down. Kids started saying he looked like Hitler and shouting ‘pose’. We lifted our arms in the air for two seconds and someone took a photo of us that we really regret. This was a mistake and we want to make it clear that we do not think Hitler is funny and do not agree with his views. We realize this mistake was offensive and never meant for that to happen.
After this terrible incident, the photo was shared with others that assumed we held certain views or that we meant to post the photo.
What we did was completely insensitive and we did not consider the impact it could have on others. It was stupid and thoughtless. We weren’t thinking about what it represented in the moment, and now people are feeling scared and are in pain. We would never intentionally hurt friends and family, or anyone else. We are both so sorry. What we did was wrong.
We want to tell every teen on the island to learn from our mistakes. If you see something that doesn’t feel right then be brave and say something. It is not an easy thing to do, but hopefully more people will do it.
For the last week, we have talked with many people in the Jewish community along with the Holocaust Center and have learned that Jewish people experience all kinds of harsh comments about their religion and faith. It is important that we as a community are more sensitive to this. We also learned how important it is to be an up-stander, not a bystander that ignores things that are wrong.
This is our home and we have the next four years of high school to be leaders and make a positive difference in our school and community.
Again, we are sorry, we never meant to hurt anyone.”