The Nizkor Project: Remembering the Holocaust (Shoah)

Shofar FTP Archive File: orgs/american/codoh/university.response/tampa-tribune

Archive/File: orgs/american/codoh/university.response tampa-tribune

Archive/File: holocaust/usa/codoh tampa.001 Last-Modified: 1994/09/07
Source: Holocaust Memorial Museum and Educational Center

    A Better Way to Publicize Hateful Denials of the Holocaust

College newspaper editors all around the country have run up against
on of the tougher calls they will have to make in their careers - when
to say no to an advertisement.

The advertisement in question is 20 paragraphs of pseudo-intellectual
dreck arguing that the Holocaust Museum in Washington has failed to
prove that the Nazis carried out genocide in gas chambers at their
death camps. It calls for an "open debate" about the Holocaust and
suggests that defenders of the historical truth of the Holocaust are
guilty of censorship.

"In a free society, all ideas are best illuminated in the light shed
by open debate," wrote Bradley R. Smith, a Californian who has been
submitting this advertisement to college newspapers around the

The reality of German genocide in the Holocaust is no more a fit
subject for debate than the fact of the deaths of 58,000 Americans in
Vietnam. What happened has been documented with films, photographs and
written records from the Nazis' own meticulous, detailed archives.

Beyond that, there are thousands of eyewitness accounts from survivors
of the death camps and testimony at the Nuremberg trials of Nazi war

We are at a critical point in the history of this atrocity, because
those survivors are dying off, and eventually there will be no one
alive who can speak the truth from firsthand experience.

This opens the way for Nazi apologists to sow doubt, especially in the
minds of young people, for whom World War II is as remote as the siege
of Vicksburg.

Along come Smith and his advertisement, appealing to the young and
uninformed. College newspaper editors and advertising sales managers
faced a difficult choice - print it and be chastised for spreading
rubbish or refuse it and open themselves to the criticism of

The University of Miami newspaper, the _Hurrican_, printed the
advertisement, as did _The Central Florida Future_, an independent
newspaper serving the University of Central Florida in Orlando.

Julio Fernandez, business manager of the _Hurricane_, says that "a
responsible newspaper lets the readers know the different points of
view. Now they know there are people like Mr. Smith out there."

Dave Bauer, editor-in-chief of _The Central Florida Future_, says he
decided to print the advertisement because rejecting it would have
been censorship. "It is not this paper's purpose to squelch ideads
just because they are unpopular," he added.

The ad has run in about 25 student newspapers on college campuses
throughout the country and a comparable number have rejected it.

The senior editor of the Brandeis University newspaper, the _Justice_,
has published a defense of his newspaper's decision to print the ad in
an article in the Masthead, a journal for editorial writers.

Howard Jeruchimowitz, whose grandmother is a Holocaust survivor, says
printing the advertisement was the right thing to do because it
exposed Smith's abhorrent argument to the university, "a community
that can maturely confront this issue and organize against it."

He contends a newspaper "should not ignore this issue or pre-empt even
a fool's argument," asserting Brandeis needed to be aware that this
idea was being fomented across the country.

The newspaper has taken heat for it, but, according to Jeruchimowitz,
Smith should be the target because readers are better equipped to
contend with anti-Semitism and neo-Nazism by knowing what people like
Smith are saying.

The University of South Florida _Oracle_ rejected the advertisement
and also refused a request to print Smith's piece on its editorial
opinion page. 

"We are under no obligation to run this kind of material and we have
control over the editorial content," says Oracle managing editor Kevin
Connolly, noting that the paper has a responsibility to print the
truth and has to stand behind what it prints, whether that be an
advertisement or a news story.

With all due respect to the editors who printed the advertisement and
are suffering for having done so, Connolly is right. A newspaper is
under no obligation to give lunatics a forum to spread lies. If Smith
wants to publish his views on the Holocaust, he is free to do so. He
has the same freedom to speak and print his opinions as any other
American. _The Oracle_, _The Tampa Tribune_ or any other newspaper is
not obliged to put its presses at his disposal.

At the same time, Brandeis' Jeruchimowitz has a point. Smith and
others like him should not be ignored, but there is a better way to
accomplish this goal.

The proper way to alert people to the existence of trends like that
represented by Smith is not by running their opinions as
advertisements, but by writing about the phenominon as news. The
newspaper should not become a liar's stenographer; it should present
this information in a factual, historical context. That way the
readers are informed without being insulted or propagandized.

[This editorial from _The Tampa Tribune_ is reproduced here as an
appropriate response to Bradley Smith and his ilk.]

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