Smith's Journal

Feb-96
Published: 1996-01-02

Thursday, 1 February 96

David Stennett, a student at University of Puget Sound (WA) left a review copy of David Cole's video about fraud at Auschwitz, "David Cole Interviews Dr. Franciszek Piper," at the UPS History office. The video was reviewed by Professor Theodore Taranovsky, who teaches something on the Jewish holocaust and revisionism. Taranvoski took the time to watch the video, or part of it anyhow, and to reply.

What strikes me about Professor Taranovsky's response is his tone of unconcealed annoyance and even contempt for a student at his university who would look beyond Taranovsky's own recommended reading list on the Jewish holocaust. And he tears into Cole as if the young man — Cole was 23 years old when he wrote and directed this video, — were an enemy of mankind rather than a young intellectual with the imagination and courage to get, on the record, how the staff at Auschwitz was taught to tell camp visitors "facts" about the Auschwitz gas chamber that the director knew were false.

Taranovsky accepts the fact that the Soviets lied about Auschwitz which "says things about the Soviets," but he does not grasp the significance of the "Soviet" lies being forwarded at Auschwitz by the Poles for 45 years or the fact that hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of visitors to the camp were lied to year after year, decade after decade, by official camp guides — at the behest of the senior Museum staff — about how the gassing chamber at the camp was in its "original state." And closer to home, Taranovsky does not grasp the significance of the fact that historians such as himself, for decade after decade, allowed the lying about the Auschwitz gas chamber to go on and on — and on.

David Cole, who is not much older perhaps than Professor Taranovsky's students, did what Taranovsky's peers failed to do for half a century — put the lie to the Auschwitz "gas chamber." He's put the lie to many other gas chamber tales as well. I don't see how anyone can read Cole's 46 Revisionist Questions about the World War Two Gas Chambers without acknowledging that he has done more original work on the physical remains of the alleged gassing chambers than Taranovsky and his professional peers have even dreamed of doing.

Taranovsky's letter makes one loopy and careless suggestion after another: that in the video Cole avoids discussing Birkenau because he focuses on the Main Camp (well, that is the focus of the video), Cole "plays with words" when he speaks of the alleged gas chamber not being "original." (was the Auschwitz senior staff "playing with words" when it falsely taught its guides to tell tourists that the Main Camp gas chamber was in its "original" state? — you can see it taking place on the video!); suggests that, while the Soviets and Poles lied about the Main Camp gas chamber, the use of the gas chamber can be "corroborated from other sources" (it has not been); Cole doesn't use footnotes (it's a video, Professor); that Cole wants to "disprove the Holocaust" (Cole doesn't even take a run at this one — it's all in Taranovsky's imagination); that Cole denies that there were mass executions of Jews during the war (this simply isn't in the video); suggests that Cole tries to deny Nazi racial philosophy (again, it's simply not in the video); that Cole suggests that nothing the Soviets said about anything can be believed (again, it's not in the video).

What should one make of all this? When I read Taranovsky's letter, it makes me think that if I were a student in his class on the Jewish holocaust, I'd be very careful about what I said about gassing chambers. I would be hesitant to reveal the fact that I believe there might be something to revisionist theory. Because I could not honestly condemn revisionism across the board, I wouldn't talk about it openly, or in Taranovsky's presence. I wouldn't even consider taking revisionist books to class, or distributing revisionist literature not available at the campus library. While I would stand up for intellectual freedom generally, I would not make an issue about it when it came to revisionism. I would understand that what I thought about gas chambers is taboo, and I would be well aware of what it would cost to challenge such a taboo. I might very well choose to play it safe, just as Professor Taranovsky has done.

I've taken this much time with Professor Taranovsky's letter not because it is such a terrible missive, it isn't a work of pure evil after all, but precisely because it is so ordinary and expresses in such an ordinary way the difficulties students have in trying to think, really think, about the holocaust controversy. It's as if the professors are not there to encourage students to think independently, but, fundamentally, to keep them in line.

Professor Taranovsky's letter:

"Dear Mr. Stennett: I think the video is a marvelous piece of propaganda and disinformation, and if you want to give it to the UPS library, please do so. I could find it very useful in my courses when dealing with the deficiencies of [the] revisionist position.

"I do not rightly know where to start in criticizing Mr. Cole and his historical methodology. I admire how cleverly he can twist facts and edit his interview, but any professional historian could drive a truck through the loopholes he leaves. For example, he focuses on the gas chamber and crematorium in the Main Camp [Auschwitz], and while recognizing the existence of other crematoria and gas chambers in Birkenau avoids discussing them. Most serious students of the Holocaust know that the Main Camp was not the main center of the extermination of Jews (in fact the first people shot at the infamous wall ["execution" wall - Ed] were Soviet prisoners of war). He plays with words (what does original mean and if something is restored to what it was like to begin with that does not make it "not original" any more?!!. He lists three things together and by trying to disprove one claims that all three are not true. That's faulty logic at best and intellectual dishonesty at worst. The fact that Soviets, like Nazis, lied says things about Soviets, and does not make the facts untrue if they can be corroborated from other sources. He cites people but without reference to the context (or footnotes) so that the listener could go and check things out for himself. I could go on and on.

"The main problem with his argument is that he wants to disprove "the Holocaust" by focusing on one gas chamber in one camp (even if [it] is the worst) and by, and he is correct here, attacking the post-war propaganda and exaggeration if not downright lies. While the second point may be well taken, the first is not. Holocaust involved extermination of Jews not just in Auschwitz and by means of gas chambers but also by mass executions all over Europe (the bodies with bullets in them are still to be found). It was founded on a racial philosophy which was applied to Germans, Gypsies, Slavs, and other races and on the Nazi party program, all of which is too well documented to be doubted. Moreover, too many people are alive, and not just Jews, who witnessed these things.

"Of course, you can say that they all lie and that nothing the Soviets or Poles say can be believed, but if you adopt that attitude then nothing can ever be proven. In history as in the court of law we work with "reasonable doubt" not "any possible doubt" (that might bring you to question anything including your own existence). I doubt that what I say will convert you to another way of thinking but I urge you to keep on reading on the subject and keeping [sic] an open mind both pro and con. By the way, have you read Pressac's book? If I am not mistaken, he started researching the topic being a convinced revisionist, and his own researches changed his mind. Perhaps you should look at him and not just trust Mr. Cole."

All I can say is, if you want to see how students are manipulated by professors on this subject, review Cole's video, then read Professor Taranovsky's letter again. It will be a real eye-opener.

Saturday, 3 February

Those people who want to suppress a free exchange of ideas about the holocaust controversy, led by the intrepid Rabbis Marvin Hier and Abraham Cooper of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, walked into a firestorm when they helped to finagle Deutsche Telekom into banning hundreds of Websites from the German telecom network, including the one managed by Ernst Zuendel, holocaust revisionist extraordinaire. I've heard from a usually reliable source that Deutsche Telekom is now managed by Aaron Sommer, a U.S./ Israeli citizen. Is there anything significant about such men involved in corrupting public discourse on the holocaust controversy? These are the same Rabbis who have invested so much time and effort in attempting to close down CODOH's Campus Project. The story appears to be far from over.

This morning I received a press release from an associate of Zuendel's, Ingrid Rimland, where she writes that when she was "a little girl growing up immersed in piety" (her family was ethnic German religiosos, living in Ukraine) she came across the story in Genesis where Adam was told by God that he could eat from any tree in the garden but commanded Adam that he "must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. . . ." Recalling the incident, Rimland remembers thinking as a child, "What kind of crummy deal is that?" Today, Rimland wonders how we can judge charges of criminality, that is, of good and evil, if we are not allowed to investigate the alleged crime.

This is one where the Simon Wiesenthal Rabbis appear to be on the side of God. Make the charges, make them holy, make them stick, condemn to hell (a living social hell) all those who refuse to obey them and their commandment that we shall not eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil, wherein lies the truth of the gas chamber stories. The miracle of the garden is that some of us remain sappy enough (all right — pun intended) to continue to want to eat from the tree the Simon Wiesenthal rabbis condemn.

Sunday, 4 February

Sitting at the counter at Denny's restaurant (I'm White but the service is terrible anyhow) reading Harold Bloom's The Western Canon (p. 152). He's talking about Socrates, Montaigne, Herbert Luethy, Emerson and Wallace Stevens. While I continue reading thought has turned to something it must consider more interesting, the problem of this journal. How it's half a loaf and why it should be that way. It isn't much of a mystery. This time my journal isn't private. This time I write a few sentences and before I know it it's posted on the Web and people are reading it. Before, I could say anything I wanted because no one was going to read it so it didn't matter. Now I'm going to be nailed publicly for every indiscretion, every failing. I'm going to be asked to explain how I can be as old as I am and remain so insensitive, juvenile and wrong. What am I going to say?

I thought to limit this journal to the public record of how I succeed in promoting open debate on one of my favorite issues. A listing of the student papers which run my new ad, the fallout from it on campus and in the press, the fallout on the Internet and the Web. I would report on the successes, that's what promotion is, and let the failures slide. I've always been reluctant to report on how many student papers refuse to run the ads, as opposed to how many do. In my imagination, to report on papers that do run the ad encourages other papers to run it. To reveal how many reject the ad encourages others to reject it. The truth is, five and sometimes even ten papers reject the ad for each one which runs it. It appears to depend on circumstances, not the ad itself.

* * *

Advertising at the Northeastern University Independent in Chicago told us last week they were going to run the 46 Questions ad. Bill Christianson drove by the campus to pick up the paper and discovered the ad wasn't in it. When he called Independent advertising he was told the editor had pulled it at the last minute. When he spoke with the editor she said she had pulled the ad because there are many students on her campus who are Jewish and that seeing the ad would hurt their feelings.

No questions, please.

Tuesday, 6 February

An article I wrote a couple years ago for Kenn Thomas, editor at Steamshovel, has been reprinted in Popular Alienation: A Steamshovel Press Reader (IllumiNet Press, PO Box 2808, Lilburn GA 30266. Thomas sent me a couple copies of the book and this morning when I drove Alicia to the clinic for her morning radiation treatment I took a copy with me. The article discusses Oliver Stone's JFK, the tension between "creating" myth and the demands of free inquiry, the docudrama as a corrupt art form, and bounces it all off the holocaust controversy.

While Alicia was in with the machines and the technicians and I was standing in the waiting room going through the book, the doctor stopped by to discuss the x-rays we had taken yesterday. Doctor Matthew Gordon is almost certainly Jewish, maybe 40 years old, appears to be a smart guy with a really sweet personality. The day we had our first interview with him I was curious as to what he would think if he were aware of the work I do. I wanted it to come up but it didn't and never has. This morning when he stopped to chat about Alicia I had the oversized book open to my article, Holocaust Revisionism: Myth or Free Inquiry?, by Bradley R. Smith. As Dr. Gordon began to tell me that the x-rays looked good I slowly closed the book so that he wouldn't see the title of the article with my name below it. That's what you call self-censorship. It's little incidents like this one that help me understand the sensitivities of newspaper editors.

* * *

As part of the on-going and very big Internet flap over Ernst Zuendel's Web-site and the actions of the German government to ban its reception in Germany, Zuendel was interviewed 4 February on German national television. The interview originated with a journalist from Spiegel, the major German news magazine. The TV special included footage from the videotape showing Zuendel touring Auschwitz with Jewish documentary film maker David Cole. Cole is the writer and director of the documentary on Auschwitz fraud, "David Cole Interviews Dr. Franciszek Piper," and the author of 46 Unanswered Questions About the World War II "Gas Chambers," which we are using to announce this Web-site in student newspapers.

To follow the important Zuendel story go to: — http://www.zundelsite.org

Thursday, 8 February

Advertising for The Trail at University of Puget Sound left a message on my machine saying that the paper will not run our 46-Questions ad. The reason why is unclear. On the surface it's unclear. Beneath the surface it's become pretty clear to me. There's a taboo in this great modern society at the end of the 20th century, a taboo that stands in all its primitive ugliness, against challenging the gas chamber stories. Why?

If the gas chamber story is challenged, the holocaust story is challenged. If the holocaust story is challenged, the unique — unique! — monstrosity of the Hitlerian regime is challenged. If the uniqueness of German monstrosity is challenged, the history of the 20th century has to be rewritten. And last, and in all probability least, if the uniqueness of German monstrosity is challenged, the moral legitimacy of the conquest of Palestine by European Jews at the close of World War II is challenged. The Jewish conquest of Palestine can be challenged on many other sensible and ethical grounds, but those who kicked off the story to begin with, who are running with it still, chose to legitimate the conquest by using the gas chamber tales. They've made it their call.

Friday, 9 February

I see by a story in the Los Angeles Times (Times Wire Services, 15 January, p. A16) that Presidents Roman Herzog of Germany and Ezer Weizman of Israel laid a wreath in front of the ruins of the "gas chamber" at Sachsenhausen Camp, just north of Berlin. Who is there who still claims there were "gassings" at Sachsenhausen? Even the old nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal, who's willing to say almost anything to get a little press, noted twenty years ago that there had been no "gas chambers" anywhere on German soil.

This ignorant, if not stupid and ill-willed, claim about the Sachsenhausen "gas chamber" is a small demonstration of how the gas chamber story is forwarded in American and German culture. The presidents of Germany and Israel are content to pretend in full public view that there was a "gas chamber" at Sachsenhausen; the journalists who reported on the affair are too dull to wonder if the story is true; no historian will bother to correct the press because "if there wasn't a gas chamber at Sachsenhausen there were plenty of them in plenty of other places;" the Times Wire Services farmed the story out to dozens if not hundreds of other press outlets and tens if not hundreds of thousands of readers read the dumb little story so the gas chamber image (and that's pretty much all it is) has been reinforced in the minds of all concerned — once again.

When Professor Theodore Taranovsky at Puget Sound University can watch David Cole's video documenting fraud at Auschwitz and not be outraged by that fraud but rather outraged by what Cole does not talk about, we get an insight into how academics give the press a free ride with respect to the holocaust controversy and why college editors do not understand that there is a controversy.

Saturday, 10 February

With President Clinton having signed his "Communications Decency Act" there's great excitement among free speech advocates on the Internet and in the print press around the world, the sense that an important struggle has been joined. Those who feel themselves to be on the side of free expression for everyone believe deeply that they occupy the moral and intellectual high ground. They do. I agree with those who oppose the Act, but I do not feel the excitement apparently shared so widely by free-speech advocates over the work that has to be done with regard to the Act. It's a struggle that should take place, I'm on the side of the free-speechers, but I'm going to let them take care of the Communications Decency Act.

The word "decency" is a dead giveaway for me. I don't want to be involved anymore in arguments over decency. I'm interested in intellectual freedom. The Left stands foursquare in favor of free expression with regard to indecency. It's well organized and highly motivated on this issue. The Left will leap to the defense of any expression of sexual (and that's what we're talking about) indecency imaginable so long as it offends Christian standards of community decency, which over the years I had thought had been entirely eroded but about which I guess I was wrong,. Clinton himself professes to be a Christian and while I haven't followed the story very well I expect it could be shown that the impetus behind the ACT is spearheaded by Christians.

The free speech advocates who are now going to stand tough (God bless them) on the Constitutional right of everyone of us to say "fuck" and "shit" in public are exactly the Free Speechers who encourage the suppression and censorship or stand aside from the issues of intellectual freedom when controversies about the Jewish holocaust are addressed. Where have the "Human Rights Watchers" been as revisionists all over the Western World have been censored and bombed and beat up and prosecuted and denied the right to travel and fired from their jobs and dismissed from universities and research institutes because they have expressed skepticism about the gas chambers, which are at the heart of the Jewish holocaust story? They've been on the Left, that's where.

The Left will take care of Clinton's Act, it's a sexy issue for the Left, but the Left will pretend not to notice that there cannot be intellectual freedom when revisionist theory about the Jewish holocaust is being censored in one Western nation after another, and when here in America the Left routinely supports the banning of revisionist theory about the Jewish holocaust from college and university campuses. I'm in favor of being allowed to express myself even when I'm in a sordid, perverse, psychotic or just plain dirty mood. I have made a contract with myself that I will not force the dirty and crazy aspects of my personality onto others, so I feel I'm all right here. Those who don't want that stuff are free to stay away from me.

Meanwhile, my inclination is to stay on the simple road I have turned down, to find a way to make it all right to discuss the holocaust controversy at American universities and colleges — just like every other historical controversy is discussed there. It's been my sense of things for close to twenty years now that the Jewish holocaust story is the arrow that goes to the heart of intellectual freedom in America and in Western culture. If the university campus is not the place to attempt to develop an atmosphere of intellectual freedom with regard to historical controversy, where is the place?

Where do student editors think the place is?

Thursday, 15 February 96

Last Monday morning I was in the waiting room at the cancer center here in Visalia waiting for my wife to complete her last radiation treatment. A television was tuned into a Donahue show where he was interviewing Ralph Nader. Nader is running for President on the Green ticket and is on or expects to be on the ballot in California. Back in the 1960s people in my circle in Hollywood and West Los Angeles talked wistfully about wishing that Nader would run for President. I figured it would never happen and didn't bother my head about it. In my circle in the 1960s people took their children to harvest sugar cane in Cuba to help support left-wing tyranny and I didn't worry my head with their politics.

Watching Nader respond to Donahue and questions from the audience, I was surprised by his alertness, intellectual focus, his simplicity if you will, and his wit. He's still worried about the corporations and apparently has a role in editing Monitor, a new (perhaps) magazine focused on monitoring corporate influence on our daily life and the government. I've always thought the State was the problem, not the corporations. It isn't Sears or Montgomery Ward that sends the foreign expeditionary armies to Kuwait and Vietnam. Nevertheless, I was so impressed with fifteen minutes of Nader, with his style, with the extraordinary timing and suggestion of his quizzical little smile, I was ready to vote for him. I'm so far out of the electoral process I haven't been registered to vote for 10 or 15 years, but I had decided.

What enthused me so? It wasn't his politics. It was Nader himself. It was his style. Anyone can have political ideas but not many politicos have style. For me then, style has become the man. I think that's why I am not put off by radicals on either the right or the left. Are you pissed with businessmen or maybe Mexicans? It's all right with me, either way. It's the quality of your stories that matter to me, the jokes you tell, how much generosity you express toward those you have chosen to despise.

Friday, 17 February

Michael W. Parks is a journalism professor at Pierce College in Tacoma Washington. His opinion piece addressing the suppression of our advertisement follows. Here is the complete text of the ad he refers to:

"Forty-Six revisionist questions about the Nazi 'gas chambers' free on the world wide web." That's it. These 14 words are then followed by our WWW address and post office address. Here is the journalism professor's response to the 14 words:


HOLOCAUST AD MORONIC, STUPID

by Michael W. Parks, Journalism Instructor

Holocaust revisionist material cruising the information super-highway has taken an off-ramp to Pierce College.

The Pioneer recently received a check for $50 to publish an advertisement that offers, for free, "46 revisionist questions about the Nazi 'gas chambers.'" (The quotes around "gas chambers" come from the advertiser and aptly are referred to in journalism as "sneer quotes.") The newspaper's editorial board reviewed the message and promptly exercised their right to reject inappropriate advertising.

The check was returned to the sender along with an explanation of why the ad was being turned away. Part of that reason had to do with racial graffiti appearing here last year and with the fall-quarter tensions generated by the formation of the then-titled White Student Union.

The student editors did a good job in discussing the ad and coming to a conclusion, but perhaps were too kind in explaining their reasons; they forgot to tell the sender that one good reason for rejection is because the ad is ignorant, lame, inane, dopey, moronic and just plain Butt-Headed stupid.

What kind of fool believes the Nazi gas chambers did not exist and that the Holocaust is nothing more than an elaborate Jewish hoax? Sure, I can see the logic in the revisionist argument: The Jews, using a variety of methods, killed thousands of their own people; inflated that number to millions; documented the atrocities with photographs and newsreels; somehow managed to slant the incriminating evidence with the Nazis so that the victorious Allies would find it; and then the thousands of "survivors" all got together to corroborate their phony stories about death camps, torture, rape, mutilation and starvation — all this for the purpose of, um, gee, why can't I finish this scenario?

It is disturbing to believe such morons exist in our society; it's even more disturbing to believe that they have followers here at Pierce College. Obviously someone told them this college had a student newspaper and quoted the rates (how else would the sender, who lives in California, know to send exactly $50?). The sender also wrote a letter to The Pioneer, protesting the rejection of the ad, calling the decision "immature" and a violation of "even the simplest notion of fairness, equality, and intellectual freedom." This letter was not mailed in from California; it was dropped, anonymously and by hand, in The Pioneer letters-to-the-editor box.

I support the efforts to protect the intellectual freedom of Cyberspace, to have at least one medium in this society that is truly democratic and truly a marketplace of ideas, including the paranoid ramblings of would-be-revisionists. All that material is free and easily accessible on the World Wide Web.

But I also support the right of student editors who are accountable to their readers to eliminate moronic messages that deviate from the purpose of advertising, which is to inform readers of legitimate products or services rather than abusing their intelligence with dopey propaganda.


After reading this Pierce College journalism professor's opinion piece you have only to turn to David Cole's 46 Questions themselves to be able to decide for yourself who is and who isn't abusing the intelligence of Pierce College students — and student editors. Of course, Pierce College students won't be able to make such a comparison because the Pierce College Pioneer has refused to publish the address of where such information can be found. This isn't exactly censorship. It's only suppression. It's what comes first. You don't need censorship if you can successfully suppress ideas contrary to your own.

With regard to Park's wonderment over how we discovered how much to pay for the ad — we telephoned The Pioneer and asked for its publishing schedule and ad rates. Incredible! But then I suppose this sort of inventiveness is beyond anything Pierce College journalism instructors feel themselves obligated to be familiar with.

Monday, 19 February

My provider in Fresno, ValleyNet, is suffering growth pains, which has translated into poor, slow and sometimes very slow access to my Web-site and has resulted in a slow-down of the growing number of visitors who log on to this homepage. I didn't think much about it. Then, beginning Friday evening, I have been unable to receive Email. I reported it Saturday morning and talked to Vnet techs Saturday and Sunday and they did this and that but this morning I'm still unable to receive Email. Last night I began to wonder if there wasn't something behind it more complicated, or perhaps simpler, than a technological glitch. I'm in the middle of a big project. I can't maintain contact with those who are working with me. This could be serious. These are the moments when suspicion is born, and a new conspiracy theory begins to waft across the countryside, and when you feel a little guilty for allowing your trust in others to be compromised.

If your in-laws are not Mexican you probably would not expect your father-in-law to give your nine-year-old daughter a chicken for a pet. A kitty perhaps, or a rat. The little white chicken sang like a canary for a couple weeks but it grew fast, its legs got thick, and it stopped its song. It makes ca-ca everywhere. At night my wife brings it inside and puts it in a box. Now it's big enough to [be] eat[en]. My wife won't hear of it. At first we thought our dog was going to eat the chicken but they became friends and now in the morning when we put them outside she likes to smell the chicken's butt. When the dog wants in the house she scratches on the glass door to the family room where I do the typing. After only a few days, after the chicken scratched around in the garden for an hour or so, it began coming to the door and knocking on the glass with its beak. I didn't think a chicken had that much sense. A couple days ago, Saturday, I was cleaning up the back yard and the chicken followed me everywhere I went. Then last night when I stood at the door calling the dog the chicken came running across the grass as if it were somebody's pet. And thought said to me, that's what trust is, and you ought to be ashamed of yourself.

Wednesday, 22 February

A Cornell University student writes to say that I obviously have done a great deal of research on the gas chamber issue (I haven't) and that maybe, if I am able to answer a number of questions he lists, I will be able to prove to him that the holocaust never happened. He then ends his letter with an ironic observation about the "countless Jews that lied about there being gas chambers." I suspect it is this implied charge, that "countless" (some?) Jews have lied about gas chambers that is so disturbing to Jews and to those who wish Jews well that is at the bottom of the refusal of academics to stand behind an open debate on the gas chamber controversy.

If revisionist theory is right, one thing we and the academics are left with is that some Jews have lied and are continuing to lie about gas chambers. We're all simply stuck with it. Others have lied about them as well but the possibility that elderly Jewish "eyewitnesses" might be inventing stories about having seen gassing chambers with their own eyes is a social and professional horror for professors, Jewish or Gentile. As a matter of course, this horror is passed down from the professor to the students. The student is taught to believe that if he questions the gas chamber stories he is, in effect, calling nice old Jewish ladies liars. What's a student to do? Self-censorship is the practical answer. The ideological answer is to deny that revisionist theory deserves any response other than contempt. If the student follows the example set by his professors, he will self-censor whatever curiosity or doubts he has about gas chambers, and he will pretend he is knowledgeable enough to hold all revisionist research in contempt. In short, he will be trapped.

Thursday, 29 February

The 46 Questions ad is running in The Daily Sun at Cornell University. The local Hillel wonders what can be done about it:

To: Hillel Mailing List:
Subject: Revisionism

"Today (Tues 2/20) was the second day in two weeks that Cornell University's major student-run newspaper, The Daily Sun, ran an ad from a group of revisionist historians claiming that the Holocaust never happened. The ad mentions a www page which supposedly has answers to 46 questions about the Holocaust. I have not looked at the site because I do not want to give them the satisfaction of knowing that lots of people are interested in what they have to say. (Which is also why I am not spreading the address around on this list.)

"I am writing to ask for suggestions from both the Hillel staff and fellow students on what different steps can and should be taken in a situation like this. I thank you all in advance for any help or suggestions.

"Glenn Rosenbluth, Publicity Chair, Cornell University Hillel."

Here we have the power of taboo in late 20th century America. An hysterical mis-reading of the very short text of the ad (the ad does not say we are historians, nor does it claim the holocaust never happened): the 46 Questions are about "gas chambers," not the "Holocaust;" the student will not look at the text of the ad that he wants to take "steps" about (against) and will not give the internet address where the 46 Questions can be found even to those from whom he is asking advice about what to do about the questions; and most compromising of all, the Hillel Chair wants to take "steps" against questions he has not read — on principle.

Glenn Rosenbluth asks for help and suggestions regarding the ad. My suggestion is that he choose to either ignore the 46 Questions or to read them — and to allow others at Cornell to do the same.


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Author(s): Bradley R. Smith
Title: Smith's Journal, Feb-96
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Published: 1996-01-02
First posted on CODOH: Feb. 28, 1996, 6 p.m.
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