Medals are seen on the jacket of British World War II veteran during an event to mark VJ Day at the Imperial War Museum in London.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
The Imperial War Museum in Britain apologized on Tuesday after Jewish organizations protested the use of the term "terrorists" to describe members of the Jewish Brigade who helped fight the Nazis during World War Two.
The incident was set off by an image posted on the Imperial War Museum's web site showing members of the Jewish fighting force that went on to form the fighting core of the pre-state Haganah.
The museum said that a staffer "accidentally" posted the following caption beside an image of the brigade: “Terrorist activities: Men of the First Battalion Jewish Brigade during a march past.”
The incident was first reported by the London-based Jewish Chronicle
On September 20, 1944, the British War Office officially announced the formation of the Jewish Brigade Group, an independent Jewish military force consisting of 5,000 Palestinian Jews who fought under the auspices of the British army.
The formation of the brigade was the product of years of lobbying from prominent Zionist leaders, notably Chaim Weizmann. Although the British allowed singular Jewish units to fight under their command as early as 1940, they were reluctant to establish a unified Jewish force, which they feared could pose a potential threat to their rule in Mandatory Palestine.
Fighting under the Zionist flag (and future flag of the State of Israel), the Jewish Brigade participated in military offensives in Northern Italy where they engaged Italian and Nazi troops on the front lines. By the end of the war, the brigade’s casualties amounted to 83 dead and over 200 wounded. 20 soldiers received military decorations for their bravery.
“We apologize unreservedly," the museum said in response to a protest submitted by the Simon Wiesenthal Center. "This was the historic label we received alongside the photograph, accidentally uploaded in order to give the public access to our comprehensive archives. We have now removed this item and are looking in detail at all other captions.”