The Jewish Chronicle - - COMMENT&ANALYSIS -

The of­fi­cial his­tory of Har­row School by its for­mer his­tory tu­tor Christo­pher Ty­er­man doc­u­ments a shame­ful in­ci­dent in Novem­ber 1945, six months af­ter the end of the Holo­caust, when the school gov­er­nors “ex­pressed their con­cern at the num­ber of Jews in the school” and de­cided it should be lim­ited by quota.

Har­row School has never ex­plained why its gov­er­nors acted this way. Asked for an apol­ogy, head­teacher Barn­aby Lenon has dis­missed as “sloppy think­ing that one can apol­o­gise for past ac­tions they (sic) are not re­spon­si­ble for”.

Was it sloppy think­ing for the Pope to apol­o­gise for cen­turies of per­se­cu­tion of the Jews and the Vat­i­can’s sins of omis­sion dur­ing the Holo­caust? Was it sloppy think­ing for David Cameron to apol­o­gise for Mar­garet Thatcher’s de­scrip­tion of the African Na­tional Congress as a ter­ror­ist or­gan­i­sa­tion? Was it sloppy think­ing for Bri­tain to apol­o­gise for con­tribut­ing to the tragedy of Ire­land’s great famine in 1845? Yet Mr Lenon con­tin­ues to in­sist his school should not be tarred “with a brush that ap­plies to a pe­riod be­fore I was born”. It shows a school se­ri­ously out of touch with con­tem­po­rary moral stan­dards.

Dr Ty­er­man shows that an­tisemitism was “per­va­sive” and en­demic” at Har­row, and that “low-level Jew-bait­ing” was rou­tine into the 1960s, a con­tin­u­ing part of the school’s cul­ture.

For the sake of its own good name, Har­row School should apol­o­gise for its dis­grace­ful move to im­pose a quota on Jewish pupils, if for noth­ing else. Do­ing so in Novem­ber 1945 be­trayed ap­palling cal­lous­ness to a peo­ple who had been shack­led by sim­i­lar dis­crim­i­na­tory quo­tas im­posed in coun­tries whence many had es­caped to a sup­pos­edly en­light­ened Bri­tain. David Rud­nick By­ron Hill Rd, Har­row on the Hill, Mid­dle­sex

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