NEW YORK (Dec. 20)
Revisionist historians are seeking to link their right to question the “historical reality” of the use of gas chambers by the Nazis during World War II to the principle of freedom of speech and the First Amendment, according to an official of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles.
Moreover, these historians, some of whom claim the Holocaust was a hoax and others who call it a “Zionist plot,” are currently engaged in a sophisticated effort to penetrate established organizations such as Cosmet, the Committee of Small Magazine Editors and Publishers, in order to circulate their views on the Holocaust to a wider and more influential audience.
“This new game plan,” Rabbi Abraham Cooper of the Wiesenthal Center explained to the Jewish Telegraphic Agency in a telephone interview from Los Angeles, “is to hang their hat on the freedom of speech issue.” Cooper, associate dean for the Center, also expressed concern over efforts by revisionsits like rightwing publisher David McCalden and Bradley Smith, publisher of a revisionist newsletter, to gain membership in literary and other organizations.
A NEW NEWSLETTER EMERGES
Smith’s newsletter is called “Prima Facie,” and it has been sent to publishers, editors, reporters, public relations and advertising firms and other similar groups in major cities throughout the United States. It has printed two issues to date, one in October, the other last month, and claims to have distributed some 4,000 copies across the country.
Prima Facie, whose content is similar to other literature circulated by revisionists, claims to inform “the press and media about the censorship, supression of free inquiry and the taboos used to stifle critical examination of the evidence commonly used to support the alleged historical reality of the German ‘poison gas chamber’ tales.”
ADL, WIESENTHAL CENTER DENOUNCED
Continuing, it said the newsletter “reports on the intellectual corruption” of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith and the Simon Wiesenthal Center “as it is revealed in their usage of fraudulent documents, slander, disinformation, and pathological lying to encourage the censorship and suppression of Holocaust-revisionists.”
Prima Facie, the newsletter added, “will assist writers, whenever possible to research stories of mutual interest.” It offers a subscription that can be obtained through a post office box number in Los Angeles. It includes a self-addressed envelope for this purpose, along with an order form. Yearly subscription rates are $24 for 12 issues.
Accompanying the November issue, is a separate five-page, single spaced, typed letter dated June 20, 1984 on “the strange case of John Demjanjuk,” the alleged Nazi war criminal in the United States now facing deportation proceedings.
The newsletter indicates that the story on Demjanjuk is written by his eldest daugher, Lydia Demjanjuk, although this could not immediately be verified.
The newsletter said that John Demjaniju’s case in the courts is “based on what she (Lydia) claims is fraudulent documentary evidence prepared by the Soviet KGB for the entry into the American judicial system.” The newsletter is offering a booklet by Lydia Demjanjuk for $11, including postage and handling.
TRYING TO USE FREEDOM OF SPEECH
The newsletter, however, attempts to focus primarily on the issue of freedom of speech. For example, Smith recalls an incident last October at which time he questioned a panelist at the Conference on Censorship and Culture sponsored by the National Writer’s Union at the New School for Social Research in New York, on why the Union does not confront alleged censorship of revisionist materials in libraries and public schools by the ADL and the Wiesenthal Center.
The name Bradley Smith appears listed as “Midwest regional director” on the masthead of the magazine “Spotlight,” which is published by the Washington-based Liberty Lobby, a group with ties to the Institute of Historical Review, a primary purveyor of revisionist literature and books. It could not be confirmed whether the Bradley Smith listed in Spotlight is the same Bradley Smith who is listed as publisher of Prima Facie.
Otherwise, according to officials at the Wiesenthal Center and the ADL in New York, little appears to be known of Prima Facie or its Bradley Smith. But Cooper indicated that the theme stressed by Smith in his newsletter is similar to that being used by revisionists in recent months: freedom of speech.
A RECENT DECISION RECALLED
Cooper recalled that last month, the California Library Association (CLA) revoked the decision to provide a forum at its state wide convention for McCalden, who was to be allowed to display his materials and address it under the auspices of a so-called “Truth Mission.”
The American Civil Liberties Union argued that McCalden had a right to present his views to the convention’s 3,000 delegates in the interests of “intellectual freedom,” according to the Center. But the CLA backed down after it faced angry protests from Jewish and interfaith groups in Los Angeles.
Cooper noted that while the ACLU supported McCalden’s First Amendment right to freedom of speech, the ACLU backed off when the issue was switched froma speech issue to a contractual agreement the CLA had with McCalden. Since it was a private agreement between two groups, the CLA was able to concel McCalden’s scheduled appearance, nullifying the contract, Cooper explained.
McCalden, in order to reach a larger audience, according to Cooper, has joined Cosmet, which is scheduled to hold its upcoming convention in February in San Francisco. Cooper said this is a “very serious” attempt by McCalden and other revisionists to seek “respectability.”