Welsh Government minister apologises “unreservedly” for Holocaust Memorial Day gaffe

Julie Morgan MS issues full aplogy after sending vigil invitation for “gypsy, Roma and traveller“ victims, but no mention of Jews.


YORK, ENGLAND - JANUARY 23: Leanne Woodhurst from York Minster begins to light some of the 600 candles set out on the floor of the Chapter House of York Minster in a Star of David as part of a commemoration for Holocaust Memorial Day at York Minster on January 23, 2020 in York, England. The ceremony in the Minster is part of events in the UK and internationally marking Holocaust Memorial Day on January 27. This year marks the 75th anniversary since the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in 1945 which was the largest Nazi death camp. The Holocaust genocide took place during World War II in Adolf Hitler's Nazi Germany where aided by its collaborators they systematically murdered some six million European Jews. (Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images)

HL .

A Welsh Government minister has apologised “unreservedly” after she sparked outrage by sending out invitations to a Holocaust Memorial Day vigil for “gypsy, Roma and traveller” victims - but made no mention of Jews.

Julie Morgan MS sent the “round robin” invitation by email to fellow politicians and workers at the Welsh parliament, known as the Senedd.

Ms Morgan said: “I unreservedly apologise. At no point did I want to exclude the appalling atrocities inflicted on the six million Jews who were murdered by the Nazis during the Holocaust and I’d like to make it clear that the event remembers them along with all who died during the Holocaust. The invitation was not explicit, this was my mistake and I will be re-issuing it.”

When the JC first approached Labour’s Ms Morgan, who is the Welsh Government’s deputy minister for social services, for a comment on Wednesday this week, she refused to apologise for her gaffe.

Instead, her spokesperson issued a statement saying the minister had received an apology from a Conservative MS, Sam Kurtz, whose office worker had been so offended by the wording of the invitation that she had circulated it to everyone on the Senedd’s email server.

Wednesday’s statement from Ms Morgan’s office read:

“This is a long-standing annual event being sponsored in Julie Morgan MS’s capacity as an individual Senedd Member.

“The event has always received cross-party support and ties in with the annual Holocaust Memorial Day event at the Senedd.

“This is an inclusive event, and as the invitation makes clear, the event aims to remember all victims of the Holocaust, including those who can often be forgotten about.

“An apology has been received by email and in person by the Conservative Member Samuel Kurtz, who employs the staff member who commented.  He has given his full support to the event.”

Mr Kurtz declined to comment on the matter.

But a case worker for another MS told the JC: “I was rather horrified to receive the round-robin invitation from Julie Morgan MS, a Welsh Government Minister, to a Holocaust Memorial event - the invitation is couched in terms of Gypsies, Roma and Travellers. There is no mention of Jews.  

“I am not Jewish, but I regard myself as an ally.  I was horrified at this exclusion.”

Ms Morgan’s invitation to the vigil on Tuesday, 24 January, read:

“Holocaust memorial day 2023. Gypsies, Roma and travellers – remembering all.

“Julie Morgan MS would like to invite you to join them on the steps of the Senedd for a vigil to remember all victims of the Holocaust. Following the vigil, please use the remaining time to meet with new people and catch up with familiar faces.”

Ms Morgan has represented her Cardiff North constituents at the Senedd since 2011. She was previously Labour MP for Cardiff North at Westminster, serving between 1997 and 2010.

Share via

Want more from the JC?

To continue reading, we just need a few details...

Want more from
the JC?

To continue reading, we just
need a few details...

Get the best news and views from across the Jewish world Get subscriber-only offers from our partners Subscribe to get access to our e-paper and archive