Further BBC misrepresentation of the Holocaust; & British government: 4m Jews died

January 18, 2005


1. BBC alters its webpage
2. New British government book: Only 4 million Jews died in the Holocaust

[Note by Tom Gross]

This is a follow-up to Sunday’s dispatch: Forgetting to mention the Jews: The BBC, Prince Harry, and the Holocaust.

I have limited time at present due to other work commitments, but in brief:

1. Since I sent the dispatch, the BBC has altered the webpage I criticized and added a reference to the Jewish victims of the Holocaust. See here: (news.bbc.co.uk/cbbcnews/hi/newsid_2680000/newsid_2680000/2680053.stm)

2. The BBC now falsely states that its webpage was “last updated on Thursday January 13.” In fact it was changed overnight on Sunday/Monday – some hours after I sent out my critical dispatch and after various journalists on this email list had written to me letting me know they had also now contacted the BBC pointing out the criticisms of the BBC in my dispatch.

3. The BBC page in question (“The Holocaust: What was it?”) still contains a number of errors at the present time (Wednesday 1.30 am GMT). For example:

* the Holocaust did not begin in 1933;
* most victims were not German citizens;
* the BBC statement “To the Nazis, an Aryan was anyone who was European and not Jewish” is incorrect.

4. The BBC now writes on its webpage:

“We will never know exactly how many died but there were many millions of non-Jewish victims.”

This is misleading. The Holocaust has a specific definition. We have a good estimate of how many others died, not least because of the accurate records the Nazis themselves kept.

For example, we know that 32,000 Roma (gypsies) were killed in concentration camps and reliable historians estimate a total of 100,000 – 150,000 Roma were also murdered in other ways, such as mass shootings.

Professor Yehuda Bauer, arguably the world’s leading Holocaust historian, says that approximately 5,000 male homosexuals were killed for being homosexual by the Nazis out of an estimated one million practicing male homosexuals in Germany in 1939. And so on.

5. I have received over 250 emails on this particular subject since Sunday and don't have time to answer most of them. About 20 people have written pointing out to me (sometimes angrily) that elsewhere on the BBC website the BBC does mention the Jewish aspect of the Holocaust. I never said that the BBC website – one of the largest news sites in the world – didn’t. I was referring specifically to the BBC webpage which the BBC linked to its story on Prince Harry’s Nazi uniform, which until they changed it yesterday neglected to mention Jews



I attach one or two other comments from list members, all of whom I know personally:

6. Andrew Roberts, the eminent British historian, writes from London:

“Tom, in relation to your most recent BBC item, now the UK Government Home office is putting out a Guide to Britain for new British citizens which states on page 39 that 4 million Jews died in the Holocaust.”

7. Melanie Phillips, a columnist for the (London) Daily Mail, writes: “Tom, the revised BBC web page, ‘Who were the victims?’ also perpetrates classic revisionism in stating that there were ‘millions of other victims’. While of course there were other victims, the principal target – and the ONLY target for genocide – was the Jewish people. Saying the numbers who died are uncertain is also a classic of Holocaust denial. While the exact death toll is not known, the only people who play the numbers game in suggesting ‘lots of different estimates’ tend to be Holocaust revisionists.”

8. Michael Horesh, an expert on EU-Israeli relations, writes from Jerusalem: “Tom, Jews are also not mentioned in the upcoming schedule for the UK Holocaust Memorial Day. If you look at the in Westminster.com web site, it is interesting to see how many anti-Israel Members of the British Parliament have now signed up for the new motion, such as Arafat’s admirers Jenny Tonge and Jeremy Corbyn.

The parliamentary motion reads: “That this House notes Holocaust Memorial Day is on 27th January, which is the 60th anniversary of the day that the Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz-Birkenau was liberated; recognises the significance of this year and the importance of all commemorations taking place in 2005; acknowledges the importance of the theme Survivors, Liberation and Rebuilding lives; remembers all those who lost their lives in the Holocaust and other more recent tragedies; further recognises the contribution that Holocaust Survivors have made to life in Britain; applauds organisations such as the Holocaust Educational Trust for their work; and encourages all honourable Members to be involved in a day that not only helps to ensure that the Holocaust is never forgotten but also warns of the dangers of all forms of discrimination today.”

8. Candy Shinaar writes from Israel. “The new statement from Scottish political leader Patricia Ferguson titled ‘We Must Never Forget The Horrors Of The Holocaust’ also fails to mention Jews.”

9. Melanie Phillips also adds on her website: Since posting Tom Gross’ comments, readers have pointed out other Holocaust howlers on the BBC site. On a page which provided a Q&A on Prince Harry’s Nazi fancy-dress costume, the following appeared:

“And this picture has been published just two weeks before an occasion to commemorate the liberation of Auschwitz prison camp, which will be led by his grandmother, the Queen.”

As one reader writes:

“Auschwitz was not a prison camp like Wormwood Scrubs or the north sea open prison camp where Archer or Aitken wrote diaries and strolled leisurely. The Auschwitz camps (there were several sub-camps) were concentration camps, extermination camps or death camps. They were not “prison camps”. Second World War prison camps were for prisoners of war and the distinction is clearly important. At Auschwitz Jews, and others, were exterminated.”

All notes and summaries copyright © Tom Gross. All rights reserved.