Congresswoman Protests Blurb Used in Distribution of CODOH’s “Video of the Century”

Published: 1996-07-01

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An Oregon man has been distributing our one-hour video on Auschwitz, David Cole Interviews Dr. Franciszek Piper, to a nation-wide audience at his own expense. Just for starters, he sent it to the entire U.S. Congress. Marcy Kaptur (D, Ohio) thought the video was pretty nifty. On 16 January Congresswoman Kaptur wrote on her Congressional letterhead: “Mr. Cole has obviously invested a great deal in researching his subject and I admire his tenacious curiosity.” What’s wrong with that? In the cover letter the Oregon man has been sending with the video, he quoted Kaptur, along with the President of Lithuania and the foreign policy advisor to the President of Hungary.

On 7 June the Congresswoman wrote our Oregon activist again:

“It has come to my attention that you have been using my name as an endorsement for a video. My letter to you was simply an acknowledgment of receiving your video, not an endorsement of the contents.

“I have always believed that the Holocaust was a fact and I am horrified that anyone could commit such atrocities. To deny such facts, is the denial of reality itself. [Does this language sound familiar?]

“Anyone who claims that gas chamber executions of millions of people did not happen is engaging in denial and utter falsehoods. I would never condone the spread of hatred and such lies. [Sounds familiar to me.]

“Please remove my name from any future letters you send out. Permission to use my name was not requested, nor is it granted. Any further use of my name without my permission can be subject to prosecution. [Now we’re getting to the heart of the matter.]

“Please acknowledge receipt of this letter.”

Many Congressmen and women acknowledged receipt of the Cole video on their Congressional letterhead. Only Congresswoman Kaptur volunteered an opinion on Cole’s “tenacious curiosity.” Now she wants to suppress her own words and she threatens, in so many words, to prosecute a man who says she said what she said—voluntarily and on Congressional stationary. What happened to Ms. Kaptur between 16 January and 7 June?

Kaptur’s change of mind might have something to do with House Resolution 316, introduced by Gilman, Yates, Lantos, LaTourette and Regula, which reads in part:

“...Whereas those who promote the denial of the Holocaust do so out of profound ignorance or for the purpose of furthering anti-Semitism and racism: Now, therefore, be it Resolved, that the House of Representatives “1) deplores the persistent, ongoing and malicious efforts by some persons in this country and abroad to deny the historical reality of the Holocaust; [they talkin’ ‘bout us?] and

“2) commends the vital, ongoing work of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, which memorializes the victims of the Holocaust and teaches all who are willing to learn profoundly compelling and universally resonant moral lessons.”

Resolution 316 was passed 20 December. Wasn’t Congresswoman Kaptur paying attention? Maybe she was aware of the resolution but while viewing the video became distracted by Mr. Cole’s electric stage presence. Stranger things have happened to middle-aged ladies, though I can’t think of one. In any event, only three weeks later she wrote her fateful little letter of admiration. Now she’s stuck with it.

I'm using Kaptur’s “endorsement” to promote the Cole video on the CODOH Web site, where I offer it for sale. I don’t think threats of prosecution will deter me. And I will spread Kaptur’s honest-sounding “endorsement” of the Video of the Century far and wide and to all and sundry, to coin a couple phrases.

I confess to being intrigued by this little story. In a rational society, or in a society which could deal with the Holocaust controversy in a rational way, it wouldn’t amount to a hill of beans. But that’s not the kind of society we live in, thanks to the Gilmans, the Lantos, the Yates et al., so the story amounts to more than its individual parts. While it sounds like bad news, I think I can make good news out of it.

Additional information about this document
Property Value
Author(s): Bradley R. Smith
Title: Congresswoman Protests Blurb Used in Distribution of CODOH’s “Video of the Century”
Sources: Smith's Report, no. 34, July 1996, pp. 4f.
Published: 1996-07-01
First posted on CODOH: Sept. 26, 2015, 5:40 a.m.
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