Teen antisemitic ‘joke’ spurs Holocaust education programme

A sculpture at Beth Shalom

A sculpture at Beth Shalom

A teenager’s antisemitic email to an online Jewish group has spurred his school into extending its Holocaust education programme.

The founders of a Toronto-based website, which alerts subscribers to bereavements, were shocked to see a message entitled “Nazis Rule!” declaring “Go and get locked up in those chambers you smelly big nose clowns!”

Managers of the Jewish Passings site were able to trace the 15-year-old who sent the message — because he had used his school email account.

The pupil was one of three boys from Horbury Academy in Wakefield, west Yorkshire, involved in a prank which involved signing each other up to free email newsletters.

The boy, who will now be sent to visit the Beth Shalom Holocaust Centre in Nottinghamshire, with which the school already works, has apologised to the website founders. He is said to be “devastated” by the repercussions of his actions and is “genuinely sorry”.

Head-teacher Miriam Oakley, who is Jewish, said: “It is key that the pupil meets those behind the stories, to learn the impact of his words on members of the Jewish community.” Horbury already works with two rabbis who visit the school and lead assemblies.

Stan Kohn, co-founder of the site, said Ms Oakley had responded immediately. “We are pleased with the action by the school, but disappointed that there continue to be young people with such cruel thoughts against Jews.”

Last updated: 11:39am, January 24 2013