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Tuesday, January 18, 2005
Harry refuses to
to go Auschwitz
LONDON (Reuters) - Britain's Prince Harry
on Thursday ruled out visiting Auschwitz as
atonement for wearing a Nazi uniform at a party
just two weeks before the 60th anniversary of the
death camp's liberation.
Jewish groups had demanded the 20-year-old
grandson of Queen Elizabeth make the
symbolic gesture as a way of apologizing for
wearing a swastika armband and an army shirt with
Nazi regalia at a costume party on Saturday.
prince has apologized for his "mistake" but Jewish
rights groups and
politicians said he should do more.
"This was a shameful act displaying
insensitivity for the victims, not just for those
soldiers of his own country who gave their lives to
defeat Nazism but to the victims of the Holocaust
..." said Rabbi Marvin Hier, dean of the
He added in a statement: "We strongly urge
Prince Harry to accompany the British delegation on
January 27th to the Auschwitz death camp to
commemorate 60 years since liberation. There he
will see the results of the hated symbol he so
foolishly and brazenly chose to wear."
royal official said he understood the calls for the
prince to go to Auschwitz but there were no plans
for him to attend any of the ceremonies.
"It would be a distraction and a detraction from
the importance of the occasion because it would
become a different story in media terms," the
official told Reuters.
"He recognizes he made a very bad mistake and he
apologizes for that. There are no plans for him to
say anything more."
The Nazis murdered six million Jews and millions
of others including Poles, homosexuals, Soviet
prisoners and Gypsies. Millions more were
imprisoned or forced to work as slaves.
Photographs of the younger son of the late
Princess Diana and heir to the throne
Prince Charles in Nazi attire appeared in
Britain's Sun newspaper, in Israeli papers
and on Web sites around the world.
Harry, third in line to the throne, said in a
statement he was sorry if he had caused any
offence. "It was a poor choice of costume and I
apologize," he said."Intolerable"
Prime Minister Tony Blair said: "Prince
Harry has made it clear he is very sorry about it
and I think the rest of it is best to leave to
Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom was less
sympathetic, saying the use of Nazi symbols was
What about Mel Brooks and The
Producers? John Clees in
"I think anybody who tries to pass it off as bad
taste must be made aware that this can encourage
others to think that perhaps that period was not as
bad as we teach the young generation in the free
world," he told reporters.
Conservative opposition leader Michael
Howard, who is Jewish, told BBC Radio: "It
would be appropriate if we heard from him in person
about how contrite he is."
Royal commentator Robert Lacey said he
was just "a messed up kid" and should be left
alone. "He clearly got it wrong. It is a very fine
line and Harry stepped over it. But he has
apologized and we have to move on," he told
Former armed forces minister Doug
Henderson was quoted as saying the picture
showed Harry was "not suitable" for the army.
Harry, who is due to train at the Royal Military
Academy Sandhurst this year, is known as a royal
"wild child" and has admitted smoking cannabis and
Harry was left alone by the British media for
several years after the death of his mother in a
Paris car crash in 1997, but has come in for
criticism in the last few months. Last October, he
scuffled with photographers outside a London
. . . on this
dossier on the origins of anti-Semitism
Duchess of York says
Prince 'deserves a break'