No, ‘Minions’ weren’t inspired by Jewish children who endured the Holocaust – PolitiFact

Posted By on May 20, 2021

A black-and-white image of people wearing what look like helmets with a single eye hole is spreading on social media alongside a horrifying claim.

"The minions from Despicable Me are based off of these Jewish children tortured by Nazis during the Holocaust," the post says. "Their high pitched voices in the movie are meant to represent the high pitched screams of the children during the cruel experiments."

If that seems absolutely unbelievable, its because it is. This is misinformation, and this post was flagged as part of Facebooks efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)

(Screengrab from Instagram)

We found no credible sources to corroborate the claim that the animated yellow, sometimes one-eyed minions in goggles from the "Despicable Me" movie franchise are inspired by Jewish children during the Holocaust, or that the photo pictured in the post shows Jewish children tortured during the Holocaust.

Rather, we found multiple fact-checks debunking this claim which isnt new and has circulated in several languages as well as evidence that the photo was taken of submarine crew members decades before the Holocaust started.

The photo appears in a blog post written by two members of the Historical Diving Society in England with a caption that says "Crew of HM Submarine C7 training with Hall-Rees escape apparatus, circa 1909."

Another blog post credits the photo to the Royal Navy Submarine Museum and notes that the people pictured were wearing a "1908 Hall and Rees escape suit."

France 24, a state-owned TV network, reported that the museum believes the photograph was taken in 1908. (The museums library has been closed to the public during the pandemic, and PolitiFacts queries about the Facebook post were not answered.)

Ann Bevan, curator of the Diving Museum, which was established by the Historical Diving Society, told PolitiFact that the photo shows a "crew of a submarine wearing the Hall Rees submarine escape equipment."

A website for this museum features a diving helmet that looks like the ones on the Facebook post. According to the museum, the shallow-water diving helmet was featured in two silent movies, "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea" in 1916 and "Wet Gold" in 1921 and "looks remarkably similar to some little yellow animated characters known as Minions."

In 2018, Vanity Fair published sketches of the Minions design. Their creators originally imagined them as short human factory workers, who then evolved into robots with a single eye that was "meant to convey a dimming of wits."

"Eventually, the filmmakers settled on a kind of robot-human synthesis (or, if not human, at least something more or less organic), melding the innocence of the former with the relatability of the latter," Vanity Fair said.

In their final form, some of the Minions have one eye, others have two, and they all wear goggles.

And among the movies that "Minions," a "Despicable Me" prequel, draws inspiration from is a film that satirically alludes to Adolf Hitler.

In one scene of "Minions," a Minion named Bob is made king of Britain and gives an unintelligible speech before a crowd. The scene mirrors one in the political satire "The Great Dictator," during which comedic actor Charlie Chaplin portrays a Hitler-like leader and speaks in gibberish before a large crowd, the New York Times reported.

We rate this post Pants on Fire.

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No, 'Minions' weren't inspired by Jewish children who endured the Holocaust - PolitiFact

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