If Prime Minister Dominic Perrottet is looking a little tired ahead of the state election, it could be a combination of all the hard work and the fact that he has been lying awake for two decades, wracked with guilt and shame at having worn a Nazi uniform to his 21st birthday celebration in 2003.
It was a “massive mistake,” Perrottet admitted when he realized pictures of him in uniform could become public. “I am deeply ashamed of what I have done and truly sorry for the hurt and pain this will cause to people across our state, especially members of the Jewish community, Holocaust survivors, veterans and… their families,” he said after strengthening his position by apologizing to Jewish leaders.
At the time of writing, the Jewish community appears to have forgiven the historical error and focused on what Perrottet has done for their community in the present. Perrottet will feel most of the hurt and pain himself.
For possibly the first and last time, Perrottet drew comparisons to Prince Harry doing his own Nazi snafu at a costume party in 2005. In his book spare partblames Harry William and Kate for urging him to wear the military tunic and swastika armband while the shadows of Charles, Camilla, Prince Phillip and the media jackals giggle in the background.
Harry was just following orders. He was also deeply ashamed, at least after he was caught, but then “he went to Berlin and apologized to a Holocaust survivor” who, at that moment, was doing the honor of representing six million murder victims.
Harry’s ways of blaming everyone else and redeeming himself in Berlin may not be available to Perrottet, but the parallels are chilling.
Like Harry, Perrottet seems to have stopped before painting on a toothbrush mustache and was dressed only as a minor civil servant, perhaps a Gauleiter or Reichsinspekteur, for the costume party. Like Harry, he was young then. Like Harry, he wrestled with his guilt until someone ratted him out, and then wrestled with it a lot more. Like Harry, he went to a rabbi and apologized.
The apologies and the search for redemption could carry more weight if they happened before the photos surfaced. Perrottet says he was disciplined by his parents at the time, but perhaps they exercised some restraint as they, he and all of us who are in our 20s, his nose; when Hogan’s heroes and Hello Hello and The great dictator and Dad’s Army and The Treats and Monty Python and countless other productions saturated popular consciousness in times when the Nazis were still alive and memories were fresher than satire could bite their targets. One way to pluck the fangs from a monster was to mock it for doing what no German was allowed to do between 1933 and 1945 and refuse to take it seriously.
https://www.smh.com.au/national/nsw/perrottet-has-more-pressing-problems-than-this-gotcha-lapse-from-times-gone-by-20230112-p5cc5q.html?ref=rss&utm_medium=rss&utm_source=rss_national_nsw Perrottet has more pressing problems than this stopgap from the past