A Mexican teacher that was revealed to have dressed as Adolf Hitler during class and engaged in other Nazi-themed school activities in 2016 was fired from her position at Tecnologico de Monterrey on January 24, according to the NGO StopAntisemitism.org.
A spokesperson for the university and preparatory school told The Algemeiner on Wednesday that Ana Luisa Nevárez was “no longer part of our institution.”
The former student of Nevárez’s that revealed her conduct explained to The Jerusalem Post how Nevárez had dressed as Hitler and divided her high school class into Jews and Nazis as an educational activity to teach about the Holocaust.
“She came into class, dressed up as Hitler, and everyone was just so excited. Because she had guns, she had four [toy] guns,” which Nevárez gave to the students she selected to be Nazis. Other students were assigned to be Jews. “And they was just so excited, like they all wanted to have the guns, but no one wanted to, obviously, be the Jews.”
Nevárez had the students as her “soldiers and — she would act like a totalitarian, like she would act like if she were Hitler — and have us shot at random.” Some students were put on their knees to await execution.
Along with Nevárez’s fake Hitler persona, she had students hail her with a made up title and a phrase from her favorite song while doing Nazi salutes, and even had a hashtag for her character.
“Everyone was having so much fun. I was just so confused about how to feel about it,” said the student, who was the only Jewish person at the school. “She knew I was Jewish and still decided to do this.”
The student had approached Nevárez when she understood that their history class would be covering the Holocaust: “Listen, I know you know that I’m Jewish. I know we’re going to talk about the Holocaust next week. I can do this presentation about my family who went to Auschwitz and my grandfather’s siblings who were murdered in the gas chambers….And then the next, the next class, she shows up dressed up as Hitler.”
The student explained that there was another grade that was taught in the same manner that year, and it was also not the only day in which there was Nazi-related activity.
One session, in which Nevárez encouraged students to dress as “poor people,” saw a Hitler Piñata brought to the school. The student told The Post that she didn’t think that Nevárez brought the Hitler Piñata, but that it was likely that “one of her students felt so compelled to it that they bought it. And the thing is with this, they don’t really have them readily made as Hitler. You have to go to an artist and someone who makes them and say, ‘I want this commissioned.'” Photos show students posing with the Hitler Piñata.
The response to Nevárez’s teachings was not just the alleged commissioning of the Hitler Piñata — They also posed for a picture giving Nazi salutes as a birthday present for their teacher, and hurled abuse at the Jewish student for weeks following the initial lesson.
“For weeks afterwards, people would still come at me…and made comments related to soap,” the student explained, in reference to the World War II-era rumors that the Nazis had made soap from Jews. When the Jewish student complained or took issue with any of the Nazi-themed activities or jokes, the other students allegedly gaslit her, and told her she was being too sensitive and ruining the fun.
“At Tec de Monterrey, we forcefully reject any expression that threatens the dignity of people,” the school’s spokesperson told The Algemeiner. “All of us who are part of the Tec community are responsible for following the institution’s principles at all times, even when exercising academic freedom, and for promoting a safe and respectful environment.”
“Since our foundation, we have maintained a shared history of closeness and collaboration with various cultural and religious communities, such as the Jewish community. We endorse our commitment so that Tec de Monterrey is experienced as a space with diversity and plurality of ideas that enrich the dialogue and formation of each person who is part of our community, always within a framework of respect,” the spokesperson said.
However, the Jewish student told The Post that they had complained to the administration at the time, but had been ignored. Further, Nevárez’s actions were allegedly not only common knowledge among students and staff, but publicly displayed and celebrated on her Facebook page and teacher profile. The photo of the students giving a Nazi salute was her Facebook profile cover picture. Videos of her dressed as Hitler and mock executing students with a water gun were readily available on her page, which has since been deleted.
The year after the Hitler incident, Nevárez was promoted to an administrative position. She awarded the title of “inspirational teacher of 2016” and two years later awarded as a “professor that leaves a mark.” A newspaper clipping that was on her Facebook page celebrated her “teaching style.”
The Jewish student kept this information to herself until this year because according to them, the gaslighting had made them feel as if they had been over-reacting. Moreover, they didn’t think anyone cared about antisemitism in Mexico. This changed when they saw the backlash that StopAntisemitism.org helped publicize regarding an incident at Mexico City’s Center for Higher Studies of San Angel University (CESSA), in which a teacher joked to her class on a zoom session, “What is the difference between a pizza and a Jew? A pizza doesn’t scream when it’s put into the oven.” That teacher was consequently fired.
“Until I saw that one video of StopAntisemitism.org, specifically about a teacher in Mexico and then people being outraged about it, that I felt like it mattered.” The backlash inspired the student to approach StopAntisemitism.org, which shared details and media of the incidents, ultimately leading to Nevárez firing.
Reflecting on the incident, the Jewish student, now in University, told The Post that they had encountered other instances of antisemitism in Mexico’s education system.
When asked what advice to students that had similar experiences, the student said to “speak up. I encourage them to do so because even though there maybe isn’t the community with you, there is the Jewish community, in your city, in your state, even in your country, there is a Jewish community worldwide that will back you up. That is something I didn’t know I had back then. I thought I was alone in the world.”