The boss of a Victorian government agency has apologised after children at St Kilda Football Club's academy were shown a slide of Adolf Hitler and a swastika during a leadership seminar.

It comes as the Anti-Defamation Commission slammed the incident as "beyond indecent and beyond normal", revealing teenage boys and girls were told Hitler was a "great leader".

The seminar was held on behalf of the Victorian Responsible Gambling Foundation by education company Sports and Life Training - or SALT - on May 13.

Despised Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.
Despised Nazi leader Adolf Hitler.

One of the people in watching the webinar complained to the Anti-Defamation Commission, telling them participants were asked what characteristics made a great leader as Hitler's picture was on screen.

Dr Dvir Abramovich, chairman of the commission, said it was "indefensible" to show any "admiration" for the Nazi dictator responsible for the deaths of millions of people.

"This incident is an insult to the memory of the victims, the Holocaust survivors, and to those Diggers who fought valiantly to defeat this evil tyrant," he said.

Chief executive of the gambling foundation Sam Lucas issued an apology to participants, saying the slide was not appropriate and should not have been shown.

He said the images were not only offensive but also "traumatising" for some people.

The seminar was for St Kilda Football Club’s Next Generation Academy.
The seminar was for St Kilda Football Club’s Next Generation Academy.

Mr Lucas said the organisation had instructed SALT to remove the offending slide in the past and had been informed that had happened.

"We received written confirmation that this had been done and were shocked and appalled to learn this morning that the slide had not been deleted," he said.

"To be very clear, the offensive content does not reflect our values, nor those we want to encourage in our next generation of leaders."

In the statement Mr Lucas said SALT's founder had also passed on his apologies.

The Herald Sun reports its chief executive Peter Burns had issued an "unreserved apology".

Mr Lucas said all future sessions had been put on hold as SALT conducted an audit of its educational material.

Sessions won't begin again until a guarantee has been provided that the offending material has been removed, he said.

Originally published as Outrage over Hitler 'leadership' comment



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