Although Buckingham Palace is said to be considering offers by Jewish groups to take Prince Harry on a private tour of Auschwitz after he wore a Nazi uniform to a costume party, Holocaust survivor and Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel said cryptically, “He is not worthy of it.”
“Just now it would be a publicity event and he doesn’t deserve that,” Wiesel told The Jewish Week. “That is not the way. He can read. He is not totally ignorant. He may be ignorant of history, but not in other things. Let him read books first and see documentary films. Then he can go, but not before.”
The Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles urged him to visit Auschwitz when the camp’s liberation is commemorated Jan. 27, saying the visit would show him the meaning of the symbol he wore “so foolishly and brazenly.”
A Palace spokesman said Prince Harry would not attend the ceremonies.Asked his reaction to seeing the picture of Prince Harry, 20, on the front page of a British newspaper, The Sun, wearing a Nazi uniform adorned with a handmade swastika armband, Wiesel said: “Simply disgust. If a young man wants to shock, he can find another way to shock. He should be more polite, courteous and sensitive to other people. Why he did it is beyond me.”
Wiesel said he was aware of a BBC television poll that found nearly half of Britons never heard of the Auschwitz Nazi concentration camp. The poll, commissioned to mark the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz on Jan. 27, found that although 45 percent of Britons said they never heard of it, 60 percent of women and those under 35 never heard of it. “England, which was exposed year after year from 1939 until 1945 to the dangers of the swastika, if they don’t know … it means something is wrong with the education there,” Wiesel said.
Prince Harry issued a statement of apology, saying he had made a “poor choice of costume.” The incident has prompted consideration of a Europe-wide ban on the Nazi insignia. Germany already has tight restrictions on the display of the swastika.