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Urban folk tales

Hoax: UK Holocaust education ban

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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 September 2008."

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 rendering.

We suspect that may have been written by a Christian author because of:


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 into it.

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 along.


 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:

  1. "Dear Ahmadinejad: Some Bastard will get up and say 'This never happened'," FaithFreedom.org 2009-OCT-08, at: http://www.faithfreedom.org/
  2. "Efforts To Distort History," Motorcycle Syndicate forum, 2009-OCT-15, at: http://www.motorcycle-syndicate.com/
  3. Frank Shatz, "World Focus: Blinded by hatred: Lake Placid News, 2009-NOV-06, at: http://www.lakeplacidnews.com/
  4. David West, "Holocaust Memorial Day, at: http://www.davidsemporium.co.uk/
  5. "Jitko," "Forwarded Email," SodaHead, 2009 OCT-24, at: http://www.sodahead.com/
  6. Eli "Shisooo," "IDF - Stronger than ever," YouTube, 2009-OCT-15, at: http://www.youtube.com/
  7. LedZap, "General Eisenhower Warned Us," Bullshit Forum, 2008-SEP-20, at: http://forum.bullshit.com/
  8. "The truth is not relative," Truth of politics and religion, 2009-JAN-20, at: http://truthofpoliticsandreligion.blogspot.com/
  9. Lady Kathleen, "General Eisenhower warned us," Yes-23, 2009-OCT-28, at: http://yes-23.com/
  10. "Bukeshow," "Forgotten Holocaust: read this post," 2009-OCT-26, at: http://bukeshow.xanga.com/

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 Commission:

"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 'propaganda'." 2

RodZ added:

"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:

bulletBy connecting the Holocaust with a hoax it might feed into the paranoia and disinformation of Holocaust deniers.
bulletBy 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' findings:

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

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  1. "Holocaust 'ban' e-mail confusion," BBC News, 2007-APR-17, at: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/education/6563429.stm
  2. Comment by "RodZ" at: Lady Kathleen, "General Eisenhower warned us," Yes-23, 2009-OCT-28, at: http://yes-23.com/
  3. "Snopes is the internet’s definitive fact-checking resource," Snopes, 2019, at: https://www.snopes.com/
  4. David Mikkelson, "Holocaust Teaching Ban in the UK?," Snopes, 2007-APR-15, at: https://www.snopes.com/

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Copyright © 2009 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2009-NOV-06
Latest update: 2019-JUN-28
Author: B.A. Robinson

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