CODOH Sparks Campus Revisionism

In the Dorms, the Lecture Halls, and on the Web
Published: 1998-05-01

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At Washington State University on April 13, British historian David Irving presented the revisionist case to over four hundred university students and professors, thanks chiefly to the efforts of a Washington State student who works with the Committee for Open Discussion of the Holocaust—and to CODOH for advancing the money to secure the auditorium.

At a small, excellent Midwestern liberal arts college this April, a growing circle of revisionist students was watching and discussing CODOH’s Auschwitz video, David Cole Interviews Franciszek Piper, reading Bradley Smith’s Confessions of a Holocaust Revisionist, and corresponding on the twin CODOH themes of historical truth and open discussion on the Holocaust story with such renowned academics as MIT professor of linguistics Noam Chomsky and Emory U. professor of Holocaust studies Deborah Lipstadt.

Last month as well, students at different colleges, who had been drawn to CODOHWeb by their interest in revisionism as well as in computers, were making suggestions to CODOH’s Webmaster David Thomas, who oversees the design and structure of the entire site, suggestions that are helping right now to improve the organization and appearance of CODOHWeb.

Readers of Smith's Report have become accustomed to reading reports of CODOH’s repeated achievements in taking word of Holocaust revisionism to colleges and universities across America. Despite the watchfulness of the watchdogs from major Jewish organizations, despite their pressure on student editors, faculty advisors and university presidents, CODOH has succeeded again and again in running advertisements and op-ed articles that alert campus communities to revisionist arguments and direct them to the many hundreds of articles, images and book-length revisionist studies available free of charge to those who visit CODOH’s World Wide Web site, CODOHWeb, via the Internet. Thanks to the generosity of CODOH supporters, we have been able to win name recognition for Holocaust revisionism at hundreds of centers of higher learning throughout the U.S., and at scores of them—such as Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania (see SR 52) — CODOH has been able to present a considerable profile.

Not Just Ads — Action!

Naturally, CODOH is proud of such successes. Yet we recognize that despite them, perhaps even because of them, SR readers may justly ask: Is CODOH’s advertising on campus having an effect beyond name recognition? Are CODOH’s outreach efforts actually moving students toward revisionism? Here we offer an answer by way of several examples of how CODOH is working right now with campus revisionists, not merely to better their knowledge of revisionism, but also to help them win other students to the cause of historical truth about the Second World War.

The biggest and splashiest campus breakthrough for Holocaust revisionism during the past month—during the past many months—was David Irving’s triumphant address on the campus of Washington State University in Pullman, WA. on April 13. Readers of SR 51 (“CODOH-linked student revisionist Website at Washington State U sets campus on its ear”) will recall that WSU is the site of the Student Revisionists’ Resource Site (SRRS) http://www.wsu.edu/lpauling/indexl.html. As SR reported, the SRRS and its prime mover, Justin Ried (using the name “Lawrence Pauling” on the site), came under attack from university authorities last fall, egged on by a professor of history, Steve Kale, whereupon Ried enlisted the help of the American Civil Liberties Union to protect the SRRS from university censorship.

Ried, with a double major in psychology and biology, hopeful of gaining admission to a decent graduate school, and his like-minded student associates might then have done the prudent thing and let things ride as they were, posting more revisionism to their Website, but making no more public waves at WSU.

Reading the revisionists, however—including Bradley Smith—seems to induce in some a heroic recklessness, so Justin Ried and his friends decided to invite David Irving to speak at Washington State.

The students had made their arrangements and payment for the hall when, pretty much at the last minute, they were told it had been decided that additional “security” would be needed, together with another $480 to pay for it. The undergraduate revisionists put out the alarm to revisionists over the Internet, whereupon Bradley Smith drove over the border to San Ysidro and wired the $480 on the last day, at almost the last hour, that it was needed to meet the new deadline.

The Irving lecture received massive advance publicity, on and off campus. Not just the campus Daily Evergreen, but the Spokane Spokesman, the Moscow-Pullman Daily News, and other papers in the area (plus the Seattle Times at the other end of the state) devoted sizable stories to the advent of the English historian. Of course the coverage bristled with negatives: Irving the “fascist.” Irving the “denier,” banned, arrested, or deported on three different continents, but the stories aroused interest in an author whose resume, and list of bestsellers, contrast starkly to those of the average university historian—and the Daily News printed the addresses of revisionist Websites, including CODOHWeb.

In a transparent attempt to compete with Irving’s lecture, Pullman’s mayor, Mitch Chandler, proclaimed April 13 “Holocaust Awareness Day” throughout the city, and organized a counter-event planned around Holocaust “survivors” and their stories. Ried and the other WSU student revisionists didn’t leave publicizing the event to the mainstream press or the usual campus activists from the other side. The student revisionists printed and distributed flyers, and put up their own posters advertising the living talk, without notable incident.

Irving at His Best

David Irving’s talk was a resounding success. Over four hundred students and faculty crowded the auditorium in the Compton Union Building, the majority of them, of course, non-revisionists. Almost all of them had come to hear Irving, but not all: as he began, an entire row, around twenty people, stood up and turned their backs to him. The Englishman was more than ready for this tactic. He won the laughter, and the sympathy, of a good part of the audience then and there as he remarked (to considerable laughter): “I do not mind. So far as I know these people, they have their ears right next to their assholes.” Whereupon the abashed protesters filed morosely out of the hall, except for one young woman who chose to remain and exhibit her ears and her, ah, elbows to David Irving throughout his 90-minute presentation.

Irving’s lecture demonstrated as usual his mastery of his field, and his intimate familiarity with many of the actors as well as the archives of the Second World War. He -was interrupted many times by laughter and applause, though there was clearly a sizable party of dissenters who, for whatever reason, preferred to attend the Irving performance rather than the humdrum Holocaust Awareness Day jeremiads across town. As ever, Irving sparkled during the question period, easily handling a law professor who asked why Irving accepted some eyewitness testimony and dismissed other (easy: testimony against one’s own interest is weightier than that which serves it) and crushing a German student who tried to derive some kind of moral authority for her call to outlaw revisionism from her own German nationality.

Turning the tables on her, Irving replied, “I suggest with the utmost respect in Germany this century so far nothing has changed. There is little that the rest of the world can or should learn from Germany about free speech.”

The next day even the regular media acknowledged Irving’s impact. The Moscow-Pullman Daily News remarked not only that “Irving drew frequent laughter and some applause” from the audience, but that his “...presentation was wide-ranging and nuanced...” and quoted WSU student Gerry Austin, not a revisionist (yet): “[I] appreciated seeing the other side, something other than what I have read in the textbooks in the last four years.”

Holocaust Revisionism Awareness!

The Irving lecture easily trumped the Holocaust Awareness gathering, despite the mayor’s efforts and presence and reams of favorable newspaper publicity. Barely a hundred people showed up, led by Mayor Chandler and a small entourage of tearful survivors, bolstered, if that’s the word, by the authority of WSU history professor Peter Utgaard. Utgaard blamed the WSU Daily Evergreen for starting the whole revisionist mess by printing Justin Ried’s long revisionist letter last fall (described in the SR 52 story mentioned above), and went on to remark somewhat inanely: “We need more of Edward R. Murrow and less of Geraldo and Jerry Springer.”

The fact is that April 13 in Pullman, Washington was Holocaust Revisionism Awareness Day, in the middle of Holocaust Revisionism Awareness Week, on campus at Washington State University, around town, and across the region. What started as one student and his friends standing up for freedom of speech and inquiry on the Holocaust, and then neither backing down nor standing pat when either might have seemed prudent, has opened many ears, many eyes, many minds to our message—and to the tactics of our censors, and their inevitable ineptitude when to their tactics fail.

It is fitting that the next to last voice from Washington State University, in this issue of SR, be from Professor Steve Kale, he who tried to muzzle Justin Ried and his fellow undergraduate revisionists from the outset. Kale ranted (in the WSU Daily Evergreen): “I have never been more disappointed with so many so-called adults in my life....” “It is nothing less than a disaster for WSU, Pullman, and for Jews everywhere in the USA.” “I think the administration ought to have had the moral courage to risk the negative publicity (or even legal action) that might have attended charges of censorship.”

Revisionism in the Dorms

Thanks to Ried and his fellows, thanks to David Irving, and thanks to—we’ll let Ried say it: “Had it not been for Bradley Smith and CODOH [meaning, above all, CODOH supporters] this event would have undoubtedly not taken place”—Steve Kale and his likes have been, briefly but tellingly, exposed at WSU for the frauds they are, and revisionism, which had a foothold there, now has a beachhead.

At other campuses, CODOH’s work is less public, but just as productive. For those who haven’t recently lived the goldfish bowl life of a college undergraduate, the desire of many young revisionists for comparative anonymity can seem skittish, if not cowardly. Yet students who investigate Holocaust revisionism—let alone those who try to bring it to others—must reckon not only with being singled out in the classroom, but scorned, even ostracized, by the students they study with, eat with, live with throughout the school year. Particularly if—as sometimes happens—some of those student revisionists are Jewish... Which is why when several students at a top liberal arts college in the midwest let CODOH know via email what they’ve been up to recently, and urged us to cite their letters, they asked that we keep their names out of it.

On April 6, Bradley Smith received this message from his chief contact at the above unnamed college:

“Last night about 2 a.m. Bart and I went downstairs to rewatch the David Cole video on Auschwitz and someone was already watching the TV. I don’t know what got into me but I asked this kid if he minded us watching a history video. He said no, and asked us what it was about. I cautiously answered ‘gas chambers’ and he asked whether it was a revisionist video. I took a chance and said yes.

“Well, it turns out this kid is a revisionist who had heard of you [Bradley], CODOH, David Cole, Ernst Zuen-del and a good amount of revisionist theory, all through the Internet. Eight people, not including myself and Bart, ended up trickling in and watching the video in the lounge. All were intrigued and with the exception of one girl who explained how ‘it was too personal a subject for her,’ all watched the video attentively. I don’t know if we had any converts but that’s not really the point. I think I can say that they became skeptics and all agreed that there was room for open debate.”

Our student correspondent, who now knows by practical experience, went on to say:

“The Cole video is extremely well done. I think it is effective because it doesn’t try to tackle all revisionist theory and all aspects of the Holocaust story. It doesn’t give viewers too much to swallow in one sitting.”

Within a day or two, a different student from the same campus emailed Bradley as follows:

“I recently finished Confessions, Part I. Brilliant work, cover to cover. I was moved, and I don’t say that about many books. If I could play the amateur book reviewer for a moment, I would say that your writing is some of the best I have read in terms of calling forth emotion, really getting the reader to empathize with you. This whole concept [revisionism] and many of its implications have really taken hold of me to a degree that few things ever have. I know what it means to eat, breathe, and sleep revisionism.

“I made the analogy to my roommate that the Holocaust story is like a big pumpkin, rotting from the inside out. It looks solid from the outside, but someday soon it is just going to collapse under its own weight in a festering heap.”

Each of the two students quoted above has been writing letters regarding the Holocaust controversy to leading academics elsewhere, at least one of whom, world-famous linguistics professor Noam Chomsky (MIT), has replied on the subject of free speech for Holocaust revisionists. While we are reluctant to quote from his letter, we doubt Chomsky would mind our passing on that he stands by his defense of open discussion on the Holocaust, a position he took publicly in support of Robert Faurisson years ago. As for Professor Deborah Lipstadt of Emory University (Atlanta, GA), the leading would-be scourge of “Holocaust deniers,” as she calls us—she received a letter, too, this April, but perhaps because it contained some rather pointed questions about mythical aspects of the Holocaust story, she hasn’t been heard from yet.

Collegiate Help for CODOHWeb

CODOH’s work on campus last month didn’t stop with helping create an on-campus revisionist furor. Nor did our efforts end with kindling an inner fervor among student revisionists. Two revisionist undergraduates at different colleges fired email suggestions to CODOHWeb Webmaster David Thomas on how to better organize the Home Page and other CODOH directories. Thomas tells us that there was a growing feeling even among friends that “navigating our now very large Website was about on a par with parachuting into a large city somewhere in Asia with nothing to guide you afterward except some old travel brochures written in English.” Soon enough, our Webmaster reports, “...a student who’d been working with Bradley at one of the campuses targeted for ads sent in a critique of the site’s navigation problems.”

Dave Thomas was skeptical, but the undergrad volunteered not just criticisms, but sound suggestions, too. “On examination, very good suggestions! Fresh and energetic eyes were giving us a clearer perspective of these woods that we’ve gotten too close to from working with them daily for several years now.” (Nevertheless, we remind our readers that the World Wide Web ratings outfit, Lycos, has ranked CODOHWeb in its top five percent of the WWW.)

“Even better,” Thomas adds, “the original reviewer enlisted the aid of an enthusiastic friend, who promises to canvas people he knows and record all their opinions (and maybe open a few eyes in the process!).”

Each of these developments, all of them taking place at just three campuses, happened this April. Only one of them made headlines; all of them occurred thanks to patient, persistent advance work by Smith and by non-student CODOH volunteers. These events demonstrate that appealing to the keen intelligence and the youthful idealism of our university young people is worth the effort. They testify, too, to the value and to the necessity of your support in this struggle for freedom and truth. As Justin Ried put it to Bradley Smith after the Irving triumph:

“I would like to personally thank CODOH and all its supporters for all of the assistance they’ve given. As you say: ‘With them, we can do it. Without them, not a chance.’”


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Author(s): Bradley R. Smith
Title: CODOH Sparks Campus Revisionism, In the Dorms, the Lecture Halls, and on the Web
Sources: Smith's Report, no. 54, May 1998, pp. 1, 3-6
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Published: 1998-05-01
First posted on CODOH: July 8, 2012, 7 p.m.
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