NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet’s Nazi uniform brings Holocaust survivor to tears

Holocaust survivor is reduced to tears over Dominic Perrottet’s secret Nazi costume: ‘There isn’t any excuse… a lot of people died’ – as he issues ANOTHER grovelling apology and source claims he’s ‘done’

  • Premier Dominic Perrottet, 40, is tipped to be dumped as NSW leader
  • He admitted on Thursday he wore a Nazi uniform to his 21st party
  • He was slammed by Holocaust survivors and Jewish community
  •  The father of seven posted another grovelling apology on Friday

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet is fighting for his political life after Holocaust survivors slammed him for wearing a Nazi uniform to his 21st birthday party in 2003.

Insiders have predicted his leadership is over, with some even tipping the Liberal Party could dump him before the state elections on March 18.

The premier issued a second grovelling apology on Friday morning after it was revealed exiting cabinet minister David Elliott had raised the alarm on the row.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet is fighting for his political life after Holocaust survivors slammed him for wearing a Nazi uniform to his 21st birthday party

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet is fighting for his political life after Holocaust survivors slammed him for wearing a Nazi uniform to his 21st birthday party

‘I am deeply ashamed,’ the premier again admitted in a video posted on social media. ‘I am truly sorry for the pain, hurt and distress that action will cause.

‘I’m truly sorry for that mistake. It was a grave error.’ 

Jewish leaders have revealed how one Holocaust survivor was reduced to tears by the father of seven’s revelation.

‘There is a sense of worry about what kind of world we are creating,’ Breann Fallon of the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies told the ABC.

‘[A Holocaust survivor who rang in] was mostly concerned about how future generations would take this… and conveying that it is not a past issue, it’s a present and future issue.’

She added: ‘That uniform is not just an inanimate object.

‘It is a symbol of hatred of bigotry, of genocide and discrimination and it will bring back all of those memories.’

Shortly after making the shocking announcement, Perrottet arrived at the Jewish Board of Deputies museum in Sydney to meet with leaders on Thursday afternoon

Shortly after making the shocking announcement, Perrottet arrived at the Jewish Board of Deputies museum in Sydney to meet with leaders on Thursday afternoon

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Karen Freyer, an independent political candidate from Vaucluse in Sydney’s eastern suburbs which has a high Jewish population, blasted the Premier for the stunt and said it was unforgivable.

She has relatives who are Holocaust survivors and added: ‘The Holocaust is absolutely nothing to laugh about. 

‘There is absolutely nothing fun or funny about wearing a Nazi uniform. A lot of people died. There isn’t any excuse for wearing a Nazi uniform.’

Liberal insiders say an imminent leadership spill is now inevitable following the premier’s confession and was likely to see Perrottet booted out of power. 

One admitted: ‘He’s done.’ 

Former Labor premier Bob Carr also said Perrottet, 40, was now unelectable.

‘Will Jewish leadership insist on his resignation? They should. The memory of six million demands it. He must go,’ he said.

‘If some kid in western Sydney who didn’t know better, scrawled graffiti on a synagogue, they would be demanding prosecution under the new provisions of the crimes act.’

But Perrottet’s deputy Paul Toole and treasurer Matt Keane were standing by him in public.

‘Dominic Perrottet has my support and he also has the support of the Nationals,’ Mr Toole told 2GB on Friday.

‘He admitted he’s done something stupid but we’ve all done something stupid (and) insensitive and there are things that we all probably regret when we were 21.’

Keane, seen as a potential leadership rival, had earlier also thrown his support behind the premier.

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet and his wife Helen with four of their seven children

NSW Premier Dominic Perrottet and his wife Helen with four of their seven children

Mr Perrottet’s confession was prompted by Transport Minister David Elliott’s private warning on Tuesday.

‘At that age in my life, I just did not understand the gravity of what that uniform meant,’ Mr Perrottet said on Thursday.

‘It was just a naive thing to do … I’m truly sorry for the hurt and the pain this will cause right across our state.’

On Friday he added: ‘My hope is that some good can come from the terrible mistake I made. I met with the Jewish Board of Deputies.

‘We spoke about how important it is to continue to raise education and understanding, particularly with young people, of the horrors of the Holocaust to ensure evil such as that never happens again.’

Asked where he saw the humour in wearing a Nazi uniform, he suggested all people matured differently based on their experiences.

‘I am not the person I was when I was 21,’ he said.

‘At that time, the pages of the history books had not had the impression on me that they should have.’

Mr Perrottet's shocking confession about the ugly secret came on the heels of a conversation with disgruntled Transport Minister David Elliott (pictured together) days prior, following weeks of strained relations over gaming reforms and a range of other issues.

Mr Perrottet’s shocking confession about the ugly secret came on the heels of a conversation with disgruntled Transport Minister David Elliott (pictured together) days prior, following weeks of strained relations over gaming reforms and a range of other issues.

The incident came a year after Mr Perrottet joined the NSW Liberal Party and two years before he was appointed president of the NSW Young Liberals.

In the two decades since Mr Perrottet hired the Nazi costume and walked into his birthday party, attitudes have evolved, renowned Australian Jewish historian Suzanne Rutland said.

‘There’s been a much greater sensitivity that is developed over the years to these types of issues,’ she told AAP.

Dr Rutland noted it was only last year that the swastika was banned in NSW and Victoria.

‘And yet there have been problems with the swastika for years – it didn’t get banned at that point in time,’ she said.

Mr Perrottet (pictured on his 2008 wedding day with wife Helen) said he had spoken to Jewish community leaders before Thursday's press conference

Mr Perrottet (pictured on his 2008 wedding day with wife Helen) said he had spoken to Jewish community leaders before Thursday’s press conference 

Cultural historian Jordana Silverstein said the timing of the premier’s admission was about saving face, rather than genuinely accounting for his actions.

‘It’s always been considered offensive, but it’s a matter of whose opinions have been listened to, and respected,’ she told AAP.

‘(Mr) Perrottet wearing the Nazi costume speaks to the normalisation of anti-Semitism and how acceptable it is amongst a certain segment of Australian society.’

The NSW Jewish Board of Deputies accepted a personal apology from the remorseful premier and said it hoped ‘this unfortunate incident will serve as a lesson to all’.

Followers of the Board of Deputies were divided about the significance of the incident, which the premier has cast as a terrible mistake of youthful naivety.

While some said the public knew well in 2003 that dressing as a Nazi was offensive, others said young men like Mr Perrottet didn’t have the inherited experience and education about the Holocaust.

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