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Iowa school uses quote attributed to Nazi leader in morning announcement

An Iowa school district has apologized for using a phrase attributed to Heinrich Himmler, the Nazi architect of the Holocaust, as its Respect Quote of the Day.

The quote My honor is my loyalty” was used over a public-address system for middle school students in Indianola on Monday — as well as in an email to parents, where it was attributed to Heinrich H,” the Des Moines Register reported.

Himmler’s actual phrase, “loyalty is my honor, was used by the Schutzstaffel — the Nazi Partys paramilitary group better known as the SS — to show loyalty to Adolf Hitler, according to the Anti-Defamation League.  

The school district later apologized, insisting a “staff member did not realize that the quote was from a highly inappropriate source.”

“This morning (Nov. 20), an administrative staff member accidentally posted a Respect Quote of the Day before checking the source of the quote,” Superintendent Ted Ihns wrote in an email to parents. 4 Indianola schools Superintendent Ted Ihns, pictured, said it was “completely unintentional.”Indianola Community School District 4 Indianola High School.Indianola Community School District

“I first want to apologize for the oversight/ While it was completely unintentional, I understand that some of those who saw the quote and realized the source were offended, he wrote, according to KCCI.

“Moving forward, we will implement a new process for our Respect Quote of the Day to be sure that we are double-checking all sources and ensuring the quotes are appropriate for our students, Ihns added. 4 Heinrich Himmler.Bettmann Archive

Experts warned that school officials must remember that words can influence people.

“Taking a step back, what are you trying to communicate?” Jarad Bernstein, the executive director of the Jewish Federation of Greater Des Moines, told the Register. 4 Heinrich Himmler, right, meets Adolf Hitler.ullstein bild via Getty Images

“Maybe it is a powerful tool to help educate, but because you’re gonna go down that route, know what you are doing, because words have power, he said.

The US Department of Education recently released a letter to remind academic institutions of their “federal legal obligations to ensure nondiscriminatory environments” for students amid a spike in antisemitic and Islamophobic incidents nationwide after Hamas attacked Israel on Oct. 7, USA Today reported.

The ADL has documented 832 antisemitic incidents of assault, vandalism and harassment between Oct. 7 and Nov. 7, while the Council On American Islamic Relations has received 1,283 requests for help and reports of bias between Oct. 7 and Nov. 4.

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