Elementary School Removes Nazi References from ‘Sound of Music’ Performance

The original version of the play would have required children to give the Nazi salute and use swastikas as props


Rolling Hills Elementary School in Fullerton, California, has recently altered their production of the iconic 1959 play, Sound of Music, to remove references to Nazi Germany according to KTLA reports.

The original version of the play would have required children as young as 11 and 12 to give the Nazi salute and use swastikas as props. The decision to cut the Nazi material was made out of an abundance of caution, according to Aaruni Thakur, president of the school board. However, some parents expressed frustration that parts of the play based on a memoir by Maria von Trapp have been removed entirely.

Screenshot from the Sound of Music. Fox Family Entertainment

The musical shows Maria, a tutor for a wealthy family, helping the family flee the Nazis and escape into Austria before the start of World War II. Fullerton School District Superintendent Bob Pletka shared some concerns that photos of the play could be taken out of context on social media, leaving the children vulnerable to the co-opting of these photographs by individuals or groups meant to mock or exploit the children for their own purpose.

A similar controversy erupted at Manhattan's prestigious LaGuardian High School in 2018, where the school agreed to include some Nazi references, with New York's Department of Education concluding that the hateful symbols "serve both an artistic and pedagogical purpose," according to the New York Post.

In response to the Rolling Hills Elementary School's decision, the board will create more specific standards for all future productions at the school.

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