During 2007-APR, The BBC News published a story about a hoax being spread by an email. The email spread a rumor that the United Kingdom had
banned the teaching of the Nazi Holocaust from British schools. This was said to
be in response to a complaint by some Muslim communities in the
UK who did were Holocaust deniers and objected to it being taught.
As is common with many urban folk tales, there is a kernel of
truth in the Email. It seems that the UK Historical Association had
published a report saying that:
"Teachers and schools avoid emotive and controversial history for a variety
of reasons, some of which are well-intentioned. Staff may wish to avoid
causing offence or appearing insensitive to individuals or groups in their
classes. In particular settings, teachers of history are unwilling to
challenge highly contentious or charged versions of history in which pupils
are steeped at home, in their community or in a place of worship."
The report gave as an example a history department in a northern city which:
"... recently avoided selecting the Holocaust as a topic for GCSE
coursework for fear of confronting anti-Semitic sentiment and Holocaust denial
among some Muslim pupils".
However a spokesperson for England's Department for Education
and Skills stated that:
"Teaching of the Holocaust is already compulsory in schools at
Key Stage 3 [ages 11 to 14]. It will remain so in the new KS3 curriculum from
2009 version of the Email:
On 2009-NOV-06 this website received an Email containing the
latest version of the hoax. It had changed only slightly from the original
We suspect that may have been written by a Christian author
The anti-Muslim theme,
The lack of mention of two groups targeted by the Nazi
Holocaust: Jehovah's Witnesses and homosexuals,
The apparent exaggeration of some of the numbers mentioned, and
The emphasis on Christians and priests as victims.
This is one of the versions of the Email circa 2008. Some
punctuation has been corrected:
General Eisenhower Warned Us:
It is a matter of history that when the Supreme Commander of the Allied
Forces, General Dwight Eisenhower, found the victims of the death camps he
ordered all possible photographs to be taken, and for the German people from
surrounding villages to be ushered through the camps and even made to bury
the dead. He did this because he said in words to this effect:
'Get it all on record now - get the films - get the witnesses -because
somewhere down the road of history some bastard will get up and say that
this never happened'
This week, the UK debated whether to remove The Holocaust from its school
curriculum because it 'offends' the Muslim population which claims it never
occurred. It is not removed as yet. However, this is a frightening portent
of the fear that is gripping the world and how easily each country is giving
It is now more than 60 years after the Second World War in Europe ended.
This e-mail is being sent as a memorial chain, in memory of the, 6 million
Jews, 20 million Russians, 10 million Christians, and 1,900 Catholic priests
Who were 'murdered, raped, burned, starved, beat, experimented on and
humiliated' while the German people looked the other way!
Now, more than ever, with Iran , among others, claiming the Holocaust to
be 'a myth,' it is imperative to make sure the world never forgets.
This e-mail is intended to reach 400 million people! Be a link in the
memorial chain and help distribute this around the world.
How many years will it be before the attack on the World Trade Center
'NEVER HAPPENED' because it offends some Muslim [sic] in the U.S. ???
Do not just delete this message; it will take only a minute to pass this
FREEDOM ISN'T FREE...SOMEONE HAD TO PAY FOR IT
God Bless America !
If you can read this...thank a teacher.
If you can read this in English.....thank a veteran.
Postings of the hoax on the Internet:
We have found many websites that have published this hoax. Google reports
about 1,400 hits for the phrase: "because somewhere down the road of history
some." The first ten sites listed in Google were:
All of the above websites assumed that the Email was valid, except for #9.
Also on #9, "RodZ posted an excerpt from from a statement by the
Dwight D. Eisenhower Memorial
"General Eisenhower understood that many people would be unable to
comprehend the full scope of this horror. He also understood that any human
deeds that were so utterly evil might eventually be challenged or even denied
as being literally unbelievable. For these reasons he ordered that all the
civilian news media and military combat camera units be required to visit the
camps and record their observations in print, pictures and film. As he
explained to General Marshall, 'I made the visit deliberately, in order to be
in a position to give first-hand evidence of these things if ever, in the
future, there develops a tendency to charge these allegations merely to
"His prediction proved correct. When some groups, even today, attempt to
deny that the Holocaust ever happened they are must confront the massive
official record, including both written evidence and thousands of pictures,
that Eisenhower ordered to be assembled when he saw what the Nazis had done."
"What I find important is that the denial is growing stronger every day.
The email posted here is simply to make that point. Bridgid is correct the UK
position is a hoax and perhaps we could have made the point better. But I can
see a general apathy growing in this country daily towards finishing or
resolving the war on terror and how so many have grown complacent with the
safety we currently enjoy." 2
Effects of the hoax:
This Email may well have one positive result: increased awareness of the Nazi
Holocaust. But its overall effect may be counter-productive:
By connecting the Holocaust with a hoax it might feed into the
paranoia and disinformation of Holocaust deniers.
By promoting hated of Muslims it is contributing to an atmosphere of
religious intolerance and hatred that might
eventually lead to still more religiously-motivated violence.
Snopes.com is a very highly respected web site that is devoted to fact-checking articles on the Internet. They state:
"When misinformation obscures the truth and readers don‚t know what to trust, Snopes.com‚s fact checking and original, investigative reporting lights the way to evidence-based and contextualized analysis. We always document our sources so readers are empowered to do independent research and make up their own minds." 3
During 2007, Snopes investigated the rumor that: "schools in the UK no longer teach about the Holocaust for fear of offending Muslim students." They found that one UK history department in one Northern UK city "... avoided selecting the Holocaust as a topic for GCSE coursework for fear of confronting anti-Semitic sentiment and Holocaust denial among some Muslim pupils."
They concluded that:
"The bottom line to all this fuss? Schools in the UK are indeed teaching about the Holocaust, something British journalists seemed to downplay in their rush to report that one department in one city was not. The e-mailed call to arms cited above was likely the result of a misreading of already badly-presented news articles." 4