Newsgroups: soc.college Subject: CODOH's paid advertisements: Duke University Summary: Duke's history department responds to CODOH ad Followup-To: alt.revisionism Distribution: world Organization: The Old Frog's Almanac Keywords: CODOH,Duke Archive/File: orgs/american/codoh/university.response duke.001 Last-Modified: 1993/10/24 THE HISTORY DEPARTMENT RESPONDS TO HOLOCAUST AD _The Chronicle_ [Duke Univerity's Newspaper] Wed, Nov 13, 1991, Page 7 [Full page ad, paid for by the University's history department] On Tuesday, November 5, 1991,the Duke _Chronicle_ published a full page advertisement, "The Holocaust Controversy: The Case for Open Debate." The advertisement endorsed a "revisionist" opinion denying that the German [Nazi] state had a policy to exterminate the Jewish people (or anyone else) by putting them to death in gas chambers or by killing them through abuse and neglect." The ad went on to claim that "the figure of 6 million Jewish deaths is an irresponsible exaggeration, and that no execution gas chambers existed in any camp . . under German control." The Duke History Department wishes to state that the assertions made in this advertisement do not constitute "revisionism" as scholars understand the term. In the ad Bradley R. Smith was not identified at all; Fred A Leuchter and Arthur R. Butz have not historical training; and David Irving (who is an investigative journalist) debates Hitler's personal involvemnt in mass murder, not whether mass murder occured. Nothing in the ad except the layout and the language suggests that these false assertions deserve the name "scholarship." The scholarly presention of this advertisement were effective enought to deceive the _Chronicle's_ editor, who believes that these fraudulent claims fall within the range of normal historical inquiry. "What revisionists are doing is reinterpreting history, a practice that occurs constantly, especially on a college campus," she wrote. That historians are constantly engaged in historical revision is certainly correct; however, what historians do is very different from this advertisement. Historical revision of major events (e.g. the American Revolution) is not concerned with the actuality of these events; rather, it concerns their historical _interpretation_ --their causes and consequences generally. There is no debate among historians about the actuality of the Holocaust. Scholars may discuss detail and nuance, but there can be no doubt that the Nazi state systematically put to death millions of Jews, gypsies, political radicals and other people. The apperance of historical interpretation in this ad is a very clever deception. Its "good news of Holocaust Revisionism" is surely not that six million Jews thought to have been killed in death camps are really alive and well (which would be factual revision). Rather, it's "revision" suggests that Jews (and their sympathisers) have conducted a fourty-five year, world-wide conspiracy to elicit unwarranted support and sympathy. The advertisement is, thus, a restatement of the old anti-semitic charges of Jewish conspiracy and control, enshrined in such notorious documents as the forgery, _Protocols of the Elders of Zion_. The "revisionism" in this advertisement is not really meant to rectify a historical error; rather, it's aim is to hurt Jews and demean and demonize them. _The Chronicle_ editors made a serious error when they confuse Holocaust deniers with historical revisionists. Whatever one thinks about the right of the _The Chronicle_ to accept this advertisement, as historians, we deplore this effort to use the language of "scholarship" to distort and obliterate an event which, to our everlasting shame, did occur. We urge all members of the Duke community to treat such advertisements with the contempt that they deserve. Unanimously Approved at History Department Meeting, 11/8/91
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