Volume 91, Issue 47

Thursday, November 20, 1997

stars and strife


Holocaust ad retracted

By Sandra Dimitrakopoulos
Gazette Staff

Controversy over the Holocaust has stirred after a student newspaper at the University of Toronto mistakenly printed an ad which implied certain aspects of the historical event were a hoax.

The advertisement, supported by the Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust, offers any interested party $50,000 for help in arranging a 90-minute presentation of a documentary which attempts to contradict written facts about the Auschwitz gas chambers.

Meg Murphy, Editor-in-Chief of The Varsity, said the ad printed on Monday accidentally passed through the business office and as a result she was never consulted on the decision to print it.

The group, which targets student newspapers across North America, tries to slip the anti-semitic ads through and have done so at several papers, Murphy said. "If it slips through, the money for the ad is usually not accepted but it still generates publicity."

The U of T paper has decided to donate the over $400 paid for the ad to the Holocaust Education and Memorial Centre of Toronto. A retraction will also be printed along with articles by members of B'Nai Brith Canada and the Canadian Jewish Congress.

Bradley Smith, the director of the committee which placed the ad, said the documentary is only bringing up a historical controversy which should be judged equally with other events in history.

The documentary features a young Jewish scholar by the name of David Cole interviewing Dr. Franciszek Piper, director of the archives at Auschwitz. Piper gives information contradictory to what tour guides have been telling tourists for centuries about gas chambers, Smith said.

"The issue remains that the stories occurring under German rule which are of particularly unique monstrosities, such as the gas chambers, appear to be historical lies."

Alain Goldschlager, the director of the Holocaust Literature Research Institute at Western, said he questioned the focus on gas chambers which he believes is only being used to cover up a larger agenda. "When you take out the gas chambers, it means the Holocaust was not organized but that the deaths occurred as casualties."

Candice Saktor, Holocaust awareness chair for the Jewish Students' Union, said she has a problem with the offer of such a large amount of money, fearing certain individuals may be swayed for monetary reasons rather than because they believe in the cause.

Western News, a newspaper put out by Western's administration, was also asked to print the ad but declined in a letter to Smith explaining policy guidelines did not conform to the ad content and prohibited them from publishing it.

To Contact The News Department: gaznews@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1997