Major Jewish UK body stands behind Queen after surfacing of Nazi-salute photo

"It's really important for us not to judge this event with hindsight," president of Board of Deputies says.

July 21, 2015 12:44
1 minute read.
A man reads The Sun showing photo of the young Queen Elizabeth II giving Nazi salute.

A man reads The Sun showing photo of the young Queen Elizabeth II giving Nazi salute. . (photo credit: NIKLAS HALLE'N / AFP)


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The Board of Deputies of British Jews, one of the UK's oldest Jewish communal institutions, has voiced its support for Queen Elizabeth II after a British tabloid published a photo from 1933 of the seven-year-old royal raising her arm in a Nazi salute.

Board President Jonathan Arkush at a plenary meeting of the organization on Sunday spoke of the Royal Family's warm relations with the Jewish community, the UK's Jewish Chronicle reported. 

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"I don't think any criticism of a seven-year-old child would be remotely appropriate and I don't intend to make any," Arkush said to the applause of hundreds of deputies, the Jewish Chronicle reported. 

"It's really important for us not to judge this event with hindsight. Obviously the Nazi salute now carries horrible memories and bitterness for us, but I do not think for one moment that it would be appropriate for me to suggest that the full horror of Nazi Germany was known at that point," Arkush was quoted as saying. 

Arkush told the audience that the Queen had met Holocaust survivors on a number of occasions and cited her recent trip to Nazi death camp Bergen-Belsen. 

"I would like to say the overwhelming view of the Jewish community towards the Royal Family is of respect, affection and loyalty, and we are proud of them," Arkush said.  

Rupert Murdoch's top-selling Sun tabloid devoted seven pages to the controversial photo billed as a "world exclusive" but stressed the 17-second black-and-white film from the year Adolf Hitler came to power did not reflect badly on the 89-year-old monarch.

Under the headline "Their Royal Heilnesses," The Sun said the film showed the future Edward VIII instructing his nieces, the present Queen Elizabeth, and her three-year-old sister, Princess Margaret, how to perform the Nazi salute.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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