HARROW SCHOOL MUST APOLOGISE FOR QUOTA
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