The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

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Bradley R. Smith
P.O. Box 3267
Visalia CA 93278
Tel/Fax: (209) 733 2653

                         AN OPEN LETTER TO THE

                          By Bradley R. Smith

     You performed one principled act.  You ran my advertisement, "A
Revisionist Challenge to the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum."  Your
editorial following publication of the ad suggests you lost your nerve under
pressure, then betrayed your principles.  What began as a courageous act of
intellectual independence ended in a sham.

     You write that the "best way to address falsehood is to focus on the
issue," yet in the thousands of words _The Justice_ ran about the
controversy created by the publication of the ad you did not point to a
single "falsehood" in it or even mention the issue it raises -- the fact
that the Holocaust Museum promotes the story that Germans used gas chambers
to murder the Jews of Europe but exhibits no proof whatever that gassing
chambers actually existed.

     You go further.  You charge that the ad contains "lies."  You wrote "we
wanted these lies to be exposed to an intellectual audience."  You don't
reveal to the Brandeis intellectuals which "lies" you refer to.  Why not?
Wasn't this your chance?  Isn't it your paper?  Don't you have the resources
of a great research university at hand?  What am I to think?  Have Brandeis
men given up on real journalism to settle for slander?  Don't you feel a
moral obligation to reveal my "lies" to your readers?  Isn't it possible my
"lies" could prove to be a danger to the Brandeis community?  Is Brandeis a
university where young men and women learn to take on adult
responsibilities, or a playground for children where name-calling settles
differences?  "Liar, liar, pants on fire!"

     You write that there is a "growing problem in the world -- the growth
of real anti-Semites and neo-Nazis."  Your inference is that I should be
judged as one or the other or both.  Yet I've published two books, produced
a play, written dozens of articles, been interviewed by some 500 print
journalists and radio newsmen and talk show hosts and you do not quote a
single line from any of these to demonstrate that I am what you appear to
NEED others to believe I am.  Isn't it a little neurotic to fear that a man
who questions what you have been taught to believe does so because he
"hates" you?  Are you afraid of the dark as well?

     When any of us makes charges and inferences such as those you have
made, my view is that we have a moral obligation to demonstrate our charges
are true.  This is no more and no less than what I demand of those who
administer the Holocaust Museum.  If the Museum is going to continue to
charge that the Germans used homicidal gassing chambers to murder the Jews
of Europe, the Museum is MORALLY OBLIGATED to demonstrate that the chambers
actually existed and that someone was killed in one of them.

     You write that the ad is "a political advertisement that cannot stand
up in the marketplace of ideas."  Is there one special interest group at
Brandeis which supports the proposition that the ideas of the ad should be
heard in an open intellectual marketplace?  If your answer is yes, which
group is it?  I have to buy advertising space in _The Justice_ precisely
because Brandeis, like every other university in the nation, prohibits a
free exchange of ideas about the gas chamber controversy.  My ad is not
political.  What IS political are the efforts special interest groups engage
in on campuses like Brandeis to suppress the ad for their OWN political

     You write that no member of _The Justice_ board should be "condemned"
for his actions or ideals "as many struggled with their emotions and morals
[sic] to decide whether or not to publish this [ad]."  I'm sixty-four years
old and I still face the same moral issues you face.  Do I have the moral
courage to question what all authorities believe?  Are my motives clean?  Do
I have a moral right to risk being wrong on a matter that is so painful to
so many?  Do I have a moral right to argue that intellectual freedom is more
important than what our historians teach (preach) as truth?  Regardless of
our age or ethnic or religious background, we all face these and similar
moral questions all our lives.  If Brandeis were to allow a true marketplace
of ideas to function, the controversy over whether the gas chamber story
should be open to free inquiry would be seen as the "moral" issue it is.

     Finally you write, "We cannot let Mr. Smith win."  This debate isn't
about Smith winning and the Brandeis editors and their friends losing.  I'm
willing to be convinced I'm wrong about the gassing chambers.  I swear to
you I am ready to lose that debate.  My work isn't about victory or defeat.
It's not about gas chambers.  It's about intellectual freedom.

     Intellectual freedom promises nothing to us who doubt the gas chamber
stories that it does not promise to those who believe them.  Intellectual
freedom makes one promise only -- to deepen the understanding of each of us
who employs it.  In this instance it promises to reveal the truth about the
alleged homicidal gassing chambers.  This appears to be a problem for you,
as it is for so many other newspaper editors.  Why?  Your honest answer to
that question could change your life.

     I urge you to call the Holocaust Museum.  The telephone number is (202)
488 0400.  Don't call a conference about whether or not you should call.
Just do it.  Ask where the Museum exhibits proof that the gas chambers
existed.  Publish the Museum's answer in _The Justice_ where we can all have
a look at it.  Invite a couple Brandeis historians to comment on the
Museum's response.  Invite me to comment on it.  This way you'd have at
least two sides of the story.  Some say that's what journalism is all about.
If it isn't that, what is it?

     I look forward to exchanging views and information with you and your
readers.  I'm certain there's plenty for me to learn about these matters.
I'm ready to be enlightened.  I've heard on good authority that
enlightenment is worth the trouble you have to go to to get it.


(Bradley R. Smith is director of Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust)

NOTE:  If your newspaper runs this opinion piece, please send me a tear
sheet.  Thanks.  (BRS)


-Dan Gannon

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