What’s in a name? Ask Adolph Hitler.

Either these people are Nazis or… no, they’re just Nazis. They certainly aren’t being ironic. Judging by the footage alone, I would say that parents of three children, Adolph Hitler, JoyceLynn Arian Nation and Honszlynn Hinler Jeannie probably don’t know how to spell ‘irony.’

By now, you have likely heard about these kids. The boy, Adolph Hitler (3 years old), was in the news last month after his parents complained that a supermarket had refused to write his name on his birthday cake. The police just took the kids out of the family home today.

Interestingly, no reasons have been given for the removal. There’s no record of abuse or negligence.

The children’s parents have denied they are racist, yet their home is decorated in swastikas. The father said he chose the names to honour his German ancestry and because they’re unique. “They’re just names, you know,” he said. The news segment ends with his belief that people need to be more tolerant.

Quick comments:

1)      I don’t think that police should have the authority to remove children from a home without giving a reason. Also, I’m not sure one’s attitude toward the Holocaust should be the determining factor over custodial rights.

2)      I hate bad liars. If you named your kid after a ruthless dictator just say so. Admit to being a racist waste of space and then move on. What bothered me most about this story wasn’t that the boy was named Hitler, it was that his parents tried to pass it off like it’s no big deal, like they picked the name out of a hat.  Let’s face it, you didn’t randomly name your kids ‘Adolph Hitler’ and ‘Arian Nation’ because it was either (a) unique or (b) patriotic; you did it because you’re sympathetic to Nazi ideology.

Out with it already!

Your thoughts?

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9 thoughts on “What’s in a name? Ask Adolph Hitler.

  1. My students had a HUGE debate about this story (involving several Israelis on one side and several students from former communist countries on the other). While I agree with you that it’s pretty extreme to remove the child from the household, I would like to offer a suggestion that I think we could all live with: make it illegal to name your child Adolf Hitler. I think that if I were to say “make it illegal to name your child anything that would be racist or emit racist feelings towards individuals whom that child might encounter in his/her life”, we could list almost every name in the book. But Adolf Hitler? We don’t need to name our kids that. Come on. Also, I agree about how they’re passing it off and saying that they’re not racist. Were we born yesterday?

  2. 1) the article says “No reason was given for why the children were removed”, which I believe is referring to the fact that the website lehighvalleylive.com didn’t give one.
    Furthermore, they quote the police chief for reasons, but it was the ‘Division of Youth and Family Services’ that took the children…
    http://www.state.nj.us/dcf/divisions/dyfs/
    2) I just want to point out that, if there was a law against naming your child Adolf Hitler, no one would have taken notice to these children and they would have grown up to be extreme racists named Billy or Sara. Perhaps now they have the potential to grow up and be decent people…

  3. @ Kathryn: It is an interesting debate. I’m glad people are talking about this. As for making it illegal to name your kids Hitler, I don’t think the courts could do that, lest someone’s rights (freedom to name your kid?) be taken away–it becomes a matter of principle. I do agree, though, that something (whatever that may be) should be done. Maybe taking the kids away was a really good thing to do.

    @ Alex: I didn’t think of it that way (re: the website not giving a reason)–that makes me feel better. I really hope these kids get that chance to experience a better life.

    I just thought of this: As these kids grow up and start introducing themselves to people, I believe they’ll be met with some serious conflict. People will start to resent the kids (when they’re adults) even though it was their parents who named them = not fair = more reason the parents are idiots for not giving their kids a chance to socialize normally.

  4. For exactly the reasons you’re mentioned in the comment above, couldn’t it be said that naming one’s kids such names in a society that for the most part looks down upon Nazi ideology, is a form of abuse? This could be the impetus behind removing the children from the home…

  5. I think that raising a child to be a racist is a form of abuse…mental abuse, similar to taking away their education.

    @jensorlie for what you’re saying about it not being the childrens’ fault for having the name, couldn’t the same thing be said about the parents…how they may have been raised by racists themselves and so it’s not really their fault? (I’m not trying to sound silly, I’m being sincere: these people probably were raised by racist parents/family/community and for whatever reason cannot see past that.)

    …I guess this whole thing just makes me think about how important education is to fostering an intelligent, rational and critical mind…hopefully one that, raised under a racist environment, can grow up to question it, and form an opinion of their own.

  6. @alex Yes it’s comparable. I just mean that their names are so overt that they don’t even stand a chance in a one-minute conversation about something as banal as the weather. There will be reactions no matter what situation.

  7. On abcnews.go.com there is a story about a family who named their daughter “Talula Does The Hula from Hawaii” and she was made a ward of the state by the court so that her name could be legally changed. Apparently, she was so embarrassed by it she would tell people her name was just “K”. I think once names become phrases, something really should be done.

    In this article, the idea of irresponsibly naming children is brought up:

    “Registration officials blocked some names, including Fish and Chips, Yeah Detroit, Keenan Got Lucy and Sex Fruit, he said. But others were allowed, including Number 16 Bus Shelter “and tragically, Violence,” he said.

    New Zealand law does not allow names that would cause offense to a reasonable person, among other conditions, said Brian Clarke, the registrar general of Births, Deaths and Marriages.

    Clarke said officials usually talked to parents who proposed unusual names to convince them about the potential for embarrassment.”

    • @ kat: BAHAHA
      People are mean to their children. Oddly enough, I find “Yeah Detroit” to be a lovely name. I might even put it on my list.

  8. What if this kid grew up and bested his name? A kid named Obama right after 9/11 probably would have been mistreated because its pronounced Oh-bomb-a. I would name my kid adolf hitler if not to hail that twisted-evil man, but to remove him from history. If my son had put his name positively in history, the “original” wont really exist

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