Imperial War Museum

Imperial War Museum

by Stephen Oryszczuk

The Imperial War Museum apologised this week amid accusations that it was “complicit in Holocaust revisionism” after one of its archive photograph referred to Jewish World War II fighters as “terrorists”.

The row, involving the Simon Wiesenthal Center, followed complaints about IWM’s current display on the British Mandate in Palestine 1917-1948, which describes the WWII Jewish Brigade as “terrorists.”

Visitors to IWM’s online picture archives learned from one image that the Jewish Brigade “was formed in September 1944 and fought in Italy under the British Eighth Army” and that “many of its members went on to join the Haganah and other illegal formations”.

The Museum apologised, and said it “accidentally” uploaded the image of the fighters to its website, under the title: “Terrorist activities: Men of the First Battalion Jewish Brigade during a march past.”

A spokeswoman said: “We apologise unreservedly. This was the historic label we received alongside the photograph, accidentally uploaded in order to give the public access to our comprehensive archives. We have now removed this item and are looking in detail at all other captions.”

Earlier, U.S.-based Simon Wiesenthal Center had said the exhibition was “a travesty [that] will make the IWM complicit in Holocaust revisionism”.

Of the fighters, SWC director Shimon Samuels added: “Many served in H.M.’s forces and later came to nascent Israel as volunteers to repel British-led Arab invaders bent on completing Hitler’s plan of extermination. Would you malign these loyal British Jewish military with the stigma of ‘terrorism’?”