A poem which praises the murder of Jews by the Nazis has been included in a book of children’s poetry to be distributed in U.K. The publication, entitled Great Minds, features the work of school children ages 11 to 18 who won a nationwide literary competition.
But one poem has generated outrage amongst Jewish groups, politicians and Holocaust charities for its anti-Semitic content. The entry by the 14-year-old Gideon Taylor is apparently written from the viewpoint of Nazi leader Adolf Hitler. It includes the lines "Jews are here, Jews are there, Jews are almost everywhere, filling up the darkest places, evil looks upon their faces." 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."
The Publisher's Defense
The book was produced by Forward Press, who ran the Great Minds competition through its youngwriters.co.uk website. Winning entries were rewarded with cash prizes of up to 20ukp for pupils and 1,000ukp for schools. According to the Jewish Telegraph newspaper, the poem was the only entry in the entire book not to include the writer’s school or location.
Young Writers editor Steve Twelvetree, who also edited the book, said the poem was included as it illustrated how the writer was able to empathise with the infamous Nazi Fuehrer.
Twelvetree told the Telegraph: "From Gideon's poem and my knowledge of the National Curriculum Key Stage 3, his poem shows a good use of technical writing and he has written his poem from the perspective of Adolf Hitler.”
The editor continued: "Key Stage 3 history requires pupils to show knowledge and understanding of events and places - to show historical interpretation and to explain significance of events, people and places, all of which World War II and the Holocaust is part of.
"The poem clearly states 'I am Adolf Hitler' and it recounts a historical fact, something Young Writers and Forward Press are not willing to censor."
However, community leaders were less than impressed with the poem’s inclusion in a book which they said could be influential on youngsters' views of Jewish people.
Jon Benjamin, spokesman for the Holocaust Educational Trust Chief executive of the Board of Deputies of British Jews, said: "It is totally insensitive and inappropriate for this kind of hatred to appear... It is the duty of the publisher to consider the consequences of the poem."
He added, "It is also immensely insulting to those who lost their lives in the Holocaust and to those who survived." The charity is now urging the publishers to issue a formal apology for the book and remove the offending poem.
Jewish Labour MP, Louise Ellman, who represents the constituency of Liverpool Riverside, spoke of her concern. "It's an incitement to racial hatred. The words are absolutely outrageous and appalling."
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