Thursday, 22 December 2011

Sorry we stated that your dad said Holocaust victims 'lacked the initiative to get out'

On 15 December, the Ephraim Hardcastle column in the Daily Mail wrote:
Tory MP Zac Goldsmith’s insensitive comparison of tabloid newspapers to Auschwitz – ‘no one stated that Auschwitz should have been kept open because it created jobs’ – reminds me of a re-mark made by his late father, Sir James Goldsmith, about why he felt no empathy for Holocaust victims: ‘These people lacked the initiative to get out.’

Jemima Khan, daughter of James, sister of Zac, tweeted:

Khan complained to the Mail and the PCC and the article was quickly removed from the online version of the Hardcastle column.

Today, an apology:

Following my item on December 7 in which I claimed that the late Sir James Goldsmith had remarked that victims of the Holocaust ‘lacked the initiative to get out’, I would like to clarify that he said no such thing. A number of Sir James’s relatives were murdered in the Holocaust, and he counted two Holocaust survivors among his closest friends. As his family has pointed out, he would never have made these remarks. My apologies to the family for any upset caused.

Khan tweeted:

Thanks to the PCC for their help with this & to the Daily Mail for retracting and apologising for the hurtful article promptly.


  1. Surely Jemima Khan is the daughter of James and the sister of Zac?

  2. I really cannot believe that the Mail let this slip thru without having some sort of feud with the Jammy Fishpastes. Did Zac Ephron, I mean, Goldsmith, piss off the Tories recently?

  3. "I would like to clarify that he said no such thing."

    You might 'clarify' when something you said was ambiguous. This wasn't ambiguous, it was just wrong.

  4. That's a really shocking thing to attribute to someone. They "apologise for any upset caused"? Who wouldn't be upset by the charge of gross insensitivity to Holocaust victims? And if the story is clearly untrue (as it is), and certain to cause offence to the family (as it has), then where did they get it from, and why did they write it?

  5. I may be completely wrong in my assumptions of the Mail's personnel, but sometimes I think that some of the 'dubious' statements ascribed to third parties, be they "anonymous experts", or deceased well known figures, are simply expressions of the writer's world view. Call me a cynic.


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