UK worries over schoolboy's Hitler poem

"Make them take many paces for being one of the worst races," poem says.

October 27, 2005 18:58
1 minute read.
hitler saluting 88

hitler saluting 88. (photo credit: )


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Jewish groups expressed concern Thursday about a poem written from the perspective of Adolf Hitler and published in a collection of schoolchildren's works. "Jews are here, Jews are there, Jews are almost everywhere, filling up the darkest places, evil looks upon their faces," wrote author Gideon Taylor, 14. "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." The Holocaust Educational Trust said in a statement: "It is totally insensitive and inappropriate for this kind of hatred to appear. It is also immensely insulting to those who lost their lives in the Holocaust and to those who survived." The trust said it had not seen the anthology so could not judge the poem in context. Managing Director Ian Walton of Forward Press - which printed about 450 copies of the poetry collection, "Great Minds," for schoolchildren and their families - said Taylor had intended the poem as a condemnation of Nazism. "What he's trying to get the reader to look at (is that) we've forgotten how evil (Hitler) was and this was him," Walton said. "If you actually write poetry, then whatever you write about ... you try and put yourself in the mind of one of the protagonists." The Board of Deputies of British Jews, the country's main Jewish organization, said the poem could be an educational tool if taught in the classroom. But Jon Benjamin, the group's chief executive, said he feared it could be misunderstood by children reading it without adult help. Out of context, "it may well appeal to baser instincts and perhaps be used in a much more malign way than was ever the intention," he said.

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