Anti-Semitism and the American Academic at USC

Published: 2014-01-20

NOTE:  This letter is being distributed widely on the USC campus.

Annalise Mantz: Editor-In-Chief
The Daily Trojan
University of Southern California
Los Angeles, California

20 January 2014

Annalise Mantz

Re: the text link we submitted to The Daily Trojan that reads: “I Dreamed I was Gassed at Auschwitz” The link leads to Chapter 18 of my book, Break His Bones. There I wrote:

“In the dream I see the faces of the work Jews who are accused of helping the Germans murder and dispose of thousands and tens of thousands of other Jews. The work Jews are accused of committing the filthiest acts imaginable with corpses that might include members of their own families. I woke from the dream to understand for the first time that Jews did not do what they are charged with having done in the gas chambers. They simply would not do it.”

I suspect that, privately, you may doubt what I doubt, that Jews working as Sonderkommando at Auschwitz would devote their lives in those camps to partnering with Germans in the mass murder of hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions, of other, innocent Jews—men, women and (unbelievably) children. I am going to assume that you and I are on the same page here.

It appears that your Faculty Advisor, Professor Tylicki, disagrees. Perhaps he has told you that opening up such a question would incite controversy, including inter-group animosities. That is, as the Faculty Advisor to the Daily Trojan, he is forwarding the proposition that it is wrong, that it is somehow unprofessional, for journalists to question accusations of the mass-murder of Jews by other Jews. What kind of journalism is that, and in your opinion what kind of newspaper should be edited from that perspective?

There is every likelihood that, privately, Professor Tylicki does not believe that hundreds and even thousands of Jews at Auschwitz would collaborate with Germans in the mass murder of their own people, but has acquiesced in this perverse expression of academic group-think to protect his own career. In short, if you were to allow a free exchange of ideas on this matter in the Trojan, Professor Tylicki’s academic career could be threatened. And he fears that.

If you were to encourage a free exchange of ideas to appear in the Trojan about the guilt of Jewish Sonderkommando at Auschwitz, which I believe is a “professional” obligation, it would indeed invite a number of controversies. Among which will be the bogus accusation that such a discussion will arouse intergroup hatred. The main hatred it will arouse, however, will be on the part of those individuals and organizations that profit from the story as it is. The story as it is, is that at Auschwitz Jews collaborated with Germans in the mass-murder of the Jewish people. I don’t believe it, and I do not believe the accusation can be demonstrated to be true.

And there’s the rub. If academics like Professor Tylicki could prove that the accusation of mass-murder by Jews of Jews at Auschwitz is indeed true, they would have no reservations in having it questioned. They cannot demonstrate that the accusation is true, so they will not allow it to be questioned. In the end, the responsibility for making the right moral and professional decision on this matter might have to be left to students at USC—your readers—not their professors.

If you and your staff at the Trojan are serious about journalism, and about open, honest debate, this is a story, an accusation, that should be treated even-handedly and with respect. Why should it not be?

I would be glad to talk it over with you, and I am perfectly willing to be shown where I am wrong about any of it.

Bradley Smith
CODOH Founder
Email: [email protected]

PS: It would be interesting if Professor Tylicki would explain in your pages why he supports the anti-Semitic argument that Jewish Sonderkommando cooperated fully with Germans to murder millions of Jews at Auschwitz and other camps.

Additional information about this document
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Author(s): Bradley R. Smith
Title: Anti-Semitism and the American Academic at USC
Published: 2014-01-20
First posted on CODOH: Dec. 8, 2015, 6:40 a.m.
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