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Concern over poem

by: Hagit Klaiman, Ynetnews - Last updated: 2005-11-10

Ruth Kelly

Ruth Kelly

Education Secretary Ruth Kelly is under increasing pressure to ban an anti-Semitic poem featured in a book distributed for free to British pupils.

The scandalous poem includes the following lines: “Jews are here, Jews are there, Jews are almost everywhere, filling up the darkest places, evil looks upon their faces.”

The Times reports that the poem was written from Hitler’s point of view by a 14-year-old pupil, Gideon Taylor.

Another part reads: “Make them take many paces for being one of the worst races, on their way to a gas chamber, where they will sleep in their manger. I’ll be happy Jews have died.”

Lord Janner of Braunstone, the chairman of the Holocaust Education Trust, is also “looking into” the scandle.

“The poem is insensitive and tasteless and we are taking this further,” a trust spokesperson said.

Louise Ellman, Labour MP for Liverpool Riverside, who is filing a complaint to the education secretary and the book’s publisher, said that the poem promotes prejudice. “This could feed anti-Semitism."

Irene Lancaster, a Jewish academic, told The Times: “Many of my university students have gone on to become secondary school teachers. If they had written essays glorifying Hitler and the Holocaust in this way, I would have failed them and reported them to the appropriate university authorities.”

According to the book’s publisher, Forward Press, a free copy of the book was sent to each of the winning schools and to parents whose children’s poems appear in the book. Of a total of 420 book distributed only one complaint was received. Ian Walton, the managing director of Forward Press said: “If one is offended, then you should ask what is offending them. Is it the words, the poet, the publisher, Hitler?”

In a statement, the teenager said: "It had to have a connection to the Holocaust, so I thought I would write a poem about Adolf Hitler and his perception of life and power. As soon as I had written the poem and read it through, I knew some people would interpret it in the wrong way. I did not mean to offend anybody by writing this poem and I am not a racist person."

Reproduced with permssion: Ynetnews