Nazi Essay: Apology From NY School Over Nazi Essay

April 12, 2013 Updated: July 18, 2015

Nazi essay apology: A high school in New York apologized when an English teacher asked students to “think like a Nazi” for an essay.

The teacher wanted the students to use “solid rationale from government propaganda to convince me of your loyalty to the Third Reich” as part of a persuasive writing assignment. The teacher also wanted them to “argue that Jews are evil,” reported the Albany Times-Union.

Albany Superintendent Marguerite Vanden Wyngaard said the essay was part of exercises that were intended to help students come up with persuasive arguments.

Students were also asked to read and watch Nazi propaganda to come up with their arguments.

Around a third of the students refused to do the essay, according to The Associated Press.

“I would apologize to our families,” Vanden Wyngaard told the Times-Union. “I don’t believe there was malice or intent to cause any insensitivities to our families of Jewish faith.”

When she heard about it, Vanden Wyngaard said she “thought the assignment was ill-conceived, I thought it was inappropriate, I thought it was an absolute, not only misjudgment just horror I can’t describe it in any other words,” according to

Vanden Wyngaard on Friday told Reuters that the teacher, who was not named, might be reprimanded or fired over the gaffe.

“This assignment for some of our students at Albany High School was completely unacceptable. It displayed a level of insensitivity that we will not tolerate in our school community,” she said.

She added that the teacher has been removed from the class.

“It can go anywhere from a letter of counsel, to a letter of reprimand, all the way through to termination. There is a broad spectrum,” Vanden Wyngaard said in describing the next steps the school might take.

Earlier this year, a Manhattan teacher gave students a word problem about slavery, asking that if “one slave got whipped five times a day. How many times did he get whipped in a month (31 days)?”