A couple who gave their children Nazi-inspired names said they were wrongly accused of child abuse and would like custody of their kids back. After all, naming your kids “Adolf Hitler” and “Aryan Nation” is just a preference and not bigotry...right?
Adolf Hitler, no not the evil dictator who singlehandedly started World War II, which claimed the lives of so many, but the then three-year-old, blonde-haired, blue-eyed little boy from New Jersey, who first made headlines in 2008.
Dad Heath Campbell, then 35 and mum, Deborah then 25, attempted to buy their eldest son a cake inscribed with; “Happy Birthday Adolf Hitler” at a local bakery. The shop owner however described the request as “inappropriate” and refused to make the cake for young Adolf.
The Campbells were flooded with messages of outrage and hate when a local newspaper reported the incident. They were accused of being racists, bigots, hatemongers and even Neo-Nazis.
But Heath defended his choice of names for his young son stating; “They say, ‘He (Hitler) killed all those people.’ I say, ‘You’re living in the wrong decade. That Hitler’s gone.’
“They’re just names, you know. Yeah they (the Nazis) were bad people back then. But my kids are little. They’re not going to grow up like that.”
One month after the cake incident — Adolf Hitler, who is now 5 and his sisters; Aryan Nation, 4, and Honszlynn Hinler Jeannie Campbell, 3 (named in reference to SS Heinrich Himmler; Hitler’s second-in-command), were removed from their homes and put into foster care following an anonymous tip that the children were being abused. The couple maintains that naming their kids after historical figures of evil and symbolic of white supremacy is a preference and not bigotry.
Although the parents claim their children are harmless, the court records show that young Adolf Hitler frequently threatened to kill people. A neighbour also reported that Deborah had told her that she was terrified of her husband, Heath, as he had threatened to kill her before.
Court records also indicate that both Deborah and Heath are unemployed and were victims of childhood abuse. Both mom and dad were also reported to have suffered from unspecified psychological disabilities.
What’s more disturbing is that the Campbells’ home is covered in swastikas and Heath has one inked into his arm – and despite all this, the couple still deny any ties to Neo-Nazism. They claim that the swastika is a form of art and they are art collectors who enjoy having their home decorated with it.
It took countless investigations and court appeals, but after 2 years and 9 months of battling it out — the Campbells finally won their case and all allegations of child abuse were dropped. However, despite being found not guilty, their kids have not been released to them and are still being held in foster care.
“I don’t sleep, I don’t eat much. I miss my kids. Miss their pitter patters on the floor,” their mum told reporters.
“It’s hard. I fall asleep with their pictures.”
The so-called-non-Neo-Nazis say they will continue the fight, until the judge makes a final decision in December this year.
We here are conflicted with this story.
On one hand, it is problematic that the kids are named after historical figures of hate and pure evil but on the other hand; should a family truly be torn apart just because the parents are well…uneducated, bigoted, Neo-Nazis with unresolved emotional issues?
Should the kids, who are no doubt being separated into different foster homes, suffer from their parents’ idiocy? As destructive as parents can be, they are still your parents… and you only have one set of those in any given lifetime.
The Campbells; wayward and bigoted as they are, do love their kids and from every indication did not abuse their kids…in the traditional way.
So could planting seeds of hatred and racism in young ones be considered a form of abuse? Could raising them in your warped world views, that are not on par with acceptable social views, also be considered a form of abuse? But most of all is it right for children to be separated from their parents just because society does not accept the way they are being raised?
It is a social conundrum without an obvious answer or solution…but one that is worth mulling over.