Colombia - Nazi costumes were a Colombian police academy's idea of ‘cultural exchange’

- A police academy in Colombia is under fire after participants in a school event dressed up as Nazis, sporting swastikas. One of them impersonated Adolf Hitler, with his tiny stupid mustache and all.

The photos of the so-called “cultural exchange” event quickly went viral Thursday after being posted by the official Colombia National Police account on Facebook, according to screenshots saved by local media. The event drew national and international disdain and the post has since been deleted.

Colombian President Iván Duque weighed in on Twitter early Friday morning and said that “any apology for Nazism is unacceptable.”

“I condemn any manifestation that makes use or reference to symbols alluding to those who were responsible for the Jewish Holocaust that took the lives of more than 6 million people. Anti-Semitism has no place in the world,” he continued.

The event took place at the Simón Bolivar Police Academy in the Valle del Cauca department of Colombia, about two hours from the major city of Cali.

The original Colombia National Police post on Facebook said that “We are carrying out Internationalization Week with the invited country: Germany. With these cultural exchanges we strengthen the knowledge of our police students.” The post also included a hashtag in Spanish that said “it's an honor to be a police officer.” It's unclear if any German nationals were actually at the event.

The photos are shocking to say the least.
One image shows two Third Reich guards in Nazi paraphernalia in front of a diminutive paper maché fortress covered in present-day German flags. To the side is a man dressed as Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler, standing at attention, flanked by a German Shepherd and a vintage car.

Another image shows numerous police, with at least three in Nazi garb, examining a janky paper maché plane adorned with a swastika. In the background it says “geschichte der polizei” in German—“the history of the police.”

During World War II, the German police, including the Gestapo, or Secret State Police, came under the leadership of Hitler’s murderous security force, the SS, and participated in rounding up Jewish people throughout Germany and Nazi-occupied countries to send them to concentration camps, where millions were killed. Special police units also helped carry out the massacres of entire Jewish communities after the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union.

The images were quickly removed from social media after rapid backlash. The Colombia National Police released a statement declaring that the institution “vehemently rejects the decision made within the school” and apologized to the Jewish community. The police also announced that the director of the school had been removed from office.

The embassies of both Israel and Germany in Colombia put out a joint statement on Twitter denouncing the event.

“Events like this are outrageous and directly offend not only Jews, but also all the victims of the Nazi regime and its criminals,” said the Tweet posted on German ambassador Peter Ptassek's Twitter account. “Any hate speech can lead to tragic results like those experienced years ago.”