MUNICH (JTA) — A Jewish teenager has been kicked out of a vocational school in Germany for allegedly raising his arm in the Hitler salute in the classroom.
But Maksym M., 18, insists he was just raising his hand when attendance was taken at the Blindow-Schule in Leipzig, according to the Bild newspaper, which also reported that he has been doing well in the program. The state prosecutor declined to bring charges against him.
His parents told Bild that they were waiting for an apology from the school.
“Our son was punished for something that he did not do,” they said.
It is illegal in Germany to display the Hitler salute or other Nazi symbols.
“I didn’t do what they said,” said the teen, who is now attending a different school.
His teacher, Stefan M., reported, however, that when the student’s name was called, Maksym “raised his right arm with his palm flat, holding it at eye level.”
According to the teacher, one classmate defended Maksym by saying he had been blocking the sun from his eyes. Another said that since Maksym himself is a “foreigner,” he could not have intentionally done what he is accused of doing.
Classmates collected signatures for him, but Maksym remains dismissed from the school. An attorney for the family told the Bild that the teacher was “obviously overstretched” and was trying to gain the respect of other students by punishing Maksym.