Children 'sieg heil' during school play in UK, sparking outrage

Children were photographed performing the Nazi salute during a play; the actor said he was showing them how easily manipulated they are.

German Fuhrer Adolph Hitler doing a Nazi salute (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
German Fuhrer Adolph Hitler doing a Nazi salute
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Children attending a boarding school in the UK performed a Nazi salute while watching a play about Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, making waves as parents and viewers online were horrified.

The pupils, who attend a boarding school called Millfield School in Somerset, were photographed smiling as they raised one arm in the "Sieg Heil" salute that the Nazis were known for.

The photograph shows them in the audience seats, not participating in the play, some of them with their fingers pressed upon their upper lip to imitate Hitler's mustache.

Reports from the school said that the students were facing a Nazi flag and an actor playing the Nazi tyrant Hitler.

The parents were furious

Parents immediately came out in horror at the situation, particularly Jewish parents, who were paying £45,000 per year for their children to go to the prestigious school. According to the Jewish Chronicle, the play had been staged mere hours before Yom Kippur, too.

 Karl Dönitz in front of assembled officers performing the Nazi salute (credit: Wikimedia Commons) Karl Dönitz in front of assembled officers performing the Nazi salute (credit: Wikimedia Commons)

The actor whose play they were watching was Pip Utton, an actor whose play Adolf involved the audience sitting with Nazi banners in front of them as they watch the one-man play.

"Utton steps out of character and becomes, it seems, himself, talking to the audience as a stand-up comic,"  The British Theatre Guide's review of the play said. "However the jokes start to gain an edge that should make the audience feel uncomfortable... Some didn't quite understand what he was doing and walked out."

What did the actor say in response?

Utton, as a form of defense, said that he was manipulating the children at the end to show them "how easy it is." Perhaps it would have been better to show them The Wave, instead.

According to the Independent, the headmaster of the school apologized shortly thereafter after attempting to explain the choice of performance.

"The play is critically acclaimed and has been performed in many schools over the last 25 years."

Millfield School headmaster Gavin Horgan

"The play is critically acclaimed and has been performed in many schools over the last 25 years," said headmaster Gavin Horgan. "However, we should not have staged this play. Regardless of the good intentions, nobody should ever be encouraged to role play such actions."