SPONSORED:

West Virginia plans seminars on Holocaust after corrections staff fired for Nazi salute

West Virginia plans seminars on Holocaust after corrections staff fired for Nazi salute
© West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety

West Virginia intends to start educating its corrections department staff about the Holocaust after a photo surfaced of some of the state’s corrections cadets and staff making a Nazi salute.

A spokesman for the West Virginia Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety told The Associated Press that the head of the regional Anti-Defamation League chapter will craft the program and that the agency is “committed to taking all steps necessary to accomplish this.” 

The department did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Hill.

ADVERTISEMENT

The announcement comes after Gov. Jim Justice (R) declared that the more than 30 trainees seen in the photo and their instructor would be fired.

“As I said from the beginning, I condemn the photo of Basic Training Class 18 in the strongest possible terms,” Justice said in a statement. “I also said that this act needed to result in real consequences — terminations and dismissals. This kind of behavior will not be tolerated on my watch in any agency of State government.”

Justice’s decision came after an internal state investigation found the gesture was used in the classroom within the first two or three weeks of training and symbolized a “sign of respect for Byrd,” the class instructor whose first name was not given. 

"The investigation disclosed that she encouraged it, reveled in it, and at times reciprocated the gesture," the report said. "Additionally, Byrd appeared to overrule the corrective actions taken by others and assured the cadets the behavior was acceptable." 

Byrd, who taught a course on “Cultural Diversity,” told investigators she was unaware of the “historical or racial implications of the gesture.”