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Smith, Bradley R.
Bradley R. Smith was born to a working-class family in South Central Los Angeles (where they used to do the riots) on February 18, 1930, where the family remained until 1970. He was a good student on occasion, but was more interested in horses than education. At 18 he joined the army and in 1951 served with the infantry in Korea where he was twice wounded. It was in the army hospital at Camp Cooke California where he began to write it all down.
In the 1950s he became a deputy sheriff for Los Angeles County, but that wasn't it. He enrolled in Mexico City College to study Mesoamerican archeology but discovered the bullfights, becoming a novillero—an apprentice bullfighter—in the central mountain states of Jalisco, Guerrero and Hidalgo. The bulls very much had his attention, but his liver gave out and he had to return to the States and a VA hospital in Los Angeles.
In 1958 Smith was in New York City where he made sandwiches and worked at an art gallery. In the Village he read a bootleg copy of Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer and was, literally, rocked by it. He returned to Los Angeles where he opened a bookstore on Hollywood Boulevard specializing in paperback books, which at that time were new and all the rage. When Tropic was published, he dedicated himself to promoting the book, which was banned from sale in America by the U.S. Government. He was arrested, jailed, and prosecuted for refusing to stop selling the book.
The ensuing trial lasted six weeks, the longest civil trial to have taken place in Los Angeles at that time. There was considerable press coverage. For six weeks Smith watched and listened to academics and writers and community leaders argue under oath that Tropic of Cancer should be censored and those selling it be punished. His attention was particularly caught by Leon Uris (Exodus) arguing that Miller was “not a writer” and that he should be censored.
In the 1960s Smith, bankrupt, began working on a book (he’s still working on it) titled A Personal History of Moral Decay, and shipped out as a seaman on merchant vessel. He sailed to Japan, the Philippines, Korea, Vietnam, Taiwan. In 1968 he jumped ship in Thailand, made his way to Saigon where he was accredited as a correspondent by the South Vietnamese. There he traveled about the Mekong as a freelance correspondent with Vietnamese accreditation.
Then it happened.
In 1979, when Smith was 49 years old, back in Hollywood and working in construction, he read a leaflet by Professor Robert Faurisson, "The Problem of the Gas Chambers." The story of this momentous moment in Smith’s otherwise humdrum life is recounted in his Confessions of a Holocaust Revisionist. It took three months for him to digest the core of the revisionist argument. Arthur Butz’s The Hoax of the Twentieth Century did it for him. He understood that he wanted to act. He understood from the beginning that he would address the censorship, the suppression of independent thought, the taboo against publishing and debating revisionist arguments—not the arguments themselves. That has remained his position.
On July 4th, 1984 (seriously) Smith learned that the Institute for Historical Review, the revisionist publishing house, had been burned to the ground by those who stood against a free exchange of ideas on the orthodox Holocaust story. He volunteered to help take the Institute’s work to the public. During Smith’s association with the Institute—as a contributor to their publications, a speaker at their conferences and during the late 1980s as its Media Project director. This last generated hundreds of radio and television interviews and introduced hundreds of thousands of people to revisionist questions about the orthodox Holocaust story.
In 1989 Smith founded Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust (CODOH) dedicated to defending free speech and free inquiry into the Holocaust question. In the mid-1990s Smith and CODOH were among the first to develop a revisionist Website (www.codoh.com), one that has since remained at the center of the revisionist movement.
Smith began publishing his newsletter, Smith's Report, in 1991. Here he reports on his own activism, the work being at CODOH, and articles and news stories about revisionists and revisionism around the world. At the same time he began publishing revisionist materials calling for open debate on the Holocaust in student newspapers at colleges and universities throughout the United States. In recent years he has focused on the online editions of the student press.
In December 2006 Smith was invited to travel to Iran where he presented a paper at the Tehran Holocaust Conference titled "The Irrational Vocabulary of the American Professorial Class with Regard to the Holocaust Question"
Smith has been so persistent, and so successful at reaching student audiences on the American university campus that Hillel: the Foundation for Jewish Campus Life, and ADL, the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith together published a 10,000 word booklet dedicated to blocking Smith’s work on campus titled: “Fighting Holocaust Denial in Student Newspaper Advertisements.”
In short, Smith goes on with his work of encouraging the ideal of intellectual freedom, while organizations such as Hillel and the ADL go on with their work of discouraging it. Smith believes that in the long run a free conscience, a free mind, and a free people together form an ideal that has more human value than its opposite. He remains willing to be convinced that he is wrong about that.
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