The incident took place at the private Obermayr primary school in the south-western city of Wiesbaden on Friday which, along with children from a neighbouring kindergarten, prepared to celebrate events to mark “63 years of peace.” The planned one-hour event was meant to include singing and an air balloon competition.
But the day ended in panic and tears as the veteran founder of the “Europe School,” Karl Obermayr, put up a smoky and deafening fireworks spectacle to demonstrate to the children how the war ended before peace was ushered in Europe. He was clad in his old German Air Force or Luftwaffe cap, according to local paper Wiesbadener Kurier.
Several children were said to have been so spooked by the fireworks that many broke into tears while others screamed in fright. A six-year-old girl sustained an eye injury through a firecracker and had to be taken to hospital. The paper reported that many teachers fled the school premises along with their young wards.
Outraged parents have lodged complaints with the school and written to the paper. Police in Wiesbaden are now investigating the incident. The eight-minute fireworks ceremony was apparently given permission by city authorities but neither the fire service nor emergency teams were on hand.
The son of the veteran school director has distanced himself from his father’s actions. In a written statement, Gerhard Obermayr said he deeply regretted the incident and said he could understand the parents’ and teachers’ outrage. He added he would never have allowed the fireworks if he had known what his father had in store.