The Holocaust Historiography Project

A Sacred Cow Is Gored Among the Longhorns

Brad Smith’s Campus Project Ad Printed After Furious Clash at University of Texas

Austin Cable Television to Broadcast Cole Auschwitz Video

by Theodore J. O’Keefe

On February 19, after 15 months of intimidation and pressure by the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith, the Daily Texan, campus newspaper of the University of Texas (Austin), published a half-page advertisement defending and promoting David Cole’s breakthrough video on the alleged gas chamber at Auschwitz.

The advertisement, placed by Bradley Smith’s Campus Project in the form of a reasoned and effective “Open Letter” by Cole, was only published after the Daily Texan and the Texas Student Publications (TSP) Board, which oversees the paper, had refused to publish a straightforward quarter-page advertisement for the Auschwitz video. (For more on Cole’s video, see the March-April Journal.) Publication of the Revisionist ad resulted in campus, city, and state-wide publicity; led to the theft of thousands of copies of that Daily Texan issue; and provoked an enraged letter from the thought police at the ADL’s Houston office.

But the impact of Holocaust Revisionism on the campus of Texas’s biggest university and across its capital city may be just beginning. As this issue of the Journal goes to press, the controversial Revisionist video is scheduled for broadcast four different days over Austin public access cable television. The weeks-long, heavily reported battle to publish the video ad, the appearance of Cole’s half-page open letter, and the frenzied response to its publication have resulted in priceless advertising to the estimated 200,000 public access audience in the Austin area, setting the stage for an unprecedented opportunity to present Holocaust Revisionism directly to a large and sophisticated public.

Furthermore, the ADL’s interventions, repeated and heavy-handed, into the affairs of the Daily Texan, have created an excellent opportunity for a Campus Project counter-attack and a campus backlash: For example, one speaker brought by the ADL to the University of Texas to intimidate proponents of publishing a Campus Project ad is one of the chief players in the recent Liberators hoax.

ADL’s Initial Victories

Nowhere has the battle to bring the findings of scholarly Holocaust Revisionism into print for college and university readers been as protracted and as hotly contested as at the University of Texas (Austin). Since late fall, 1991, Bradley Smith, under the auspices of the Campus Project of the Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust (CODOH), has sought to place three different advertisements putting the Revisionist case for public discussion of admitted anomalies in the Establishment version of the Jewish Holocaust story into the Daily Texan, which circulates to 38,000 readers in and around the biggest, oldest, and most prestigious branch of the University of Texas. During that time, the Texas Student Publications Board had voted eight times on whether to publish a Campus Project advertisement before voting last February 18 to run Cole’s half-page open letter.

Until then, Jewish organizations, led by the ADL, had been successful in applying irresistible pressure on the campus paper’s student editors as well as on the controlling Texas Student Publications board to prevent publication of the Campus Project ads. Clear evidence for this pressure has been provided by the ADL itself. In an article in the June 1992 issue of the Zionist group’s newsletter On the Frontline ("The Battle of Austin: An ADL Success Story"), Jeffrey A. Ross, director of the ADL’s Campus Affairs/Higher Education Department, reveals that “ADL regional, national, and international resources were brought into play” against freedom of speech and inquiry at the University.

Ross also describes how, to combat publication of Smith’s first ad, “The Holocaust Controversy: The Case for Open Debate,” ADL officials were brought in to meet with editors of the Daily Texan and members of the TSP Board to “provide evidence of Smith’s ties to the extremist hate movement [sic],” and to “sensitize the editorial board to the deep emotional meaning of the Holocaust to the Jewish community.” “As a result,” Ross writes, “the ad was rejected.”

A second Revisionist ad, based on Journal editor Mark Weber’s essay, “The 'Jewish Soap' Holocaust Myth,” was offered for publication in spring 1992. An ADL-organized team consisting of Ross, Professor Deborah Lipstadt, and Johnnie Stevens, a veteran of the US Army’s 761st Tank Battalion, was brought to Texas to combat the Revisionist threat.

Why Stevens? Because, according to Ross’s article, his unit “had liberated Buchenwald.” In fact, as detailed elsewhere in this issue of the Journal, the story that the 761st Tank Battalion, a largely black outfit, liberated the camp is lie that was fabricated years after the war. Nevertheless, unlike those veterans of the 761st who helped to expose this hoax, Stevens is quoted explicitly as having “shot up [Buchenwald] and chased the guards out of there” in Liberators (p. 217), a book based on the deceptive documentary of the same name. Whether unwittingly or not, the ADL, which opposed the Campus Project’s ads as untruthful, was last April promoting a palpable and subsequently exposed hoax as part of its campaign to “inform” the University of Texas community of the alleged truth of the Holocaust.

When “sensitivity” and the ADL’s brand of “historical objectivity” failed to sway the TSP Board, the Zionist-Jewish “watchdog organization,” Ross reports, switched to legal intimidation. Discovering that TSP Board guidelines for opinion advertising require that permission be obtained before citing the words of third parties, the ADL’s Israel Office alerted Shmuel Krakowski, director of Yad Vashem (who is cited in the “Jewish Soap” ad), while the ADL’s New York-based Braun Center for Holocaust Studies informed the American authorities cited in the ad’s text. Deborah Lipstadt, America’s leading would-be debunker of Holocaust Revisionism, also cited in the ad, and conveniently on the scene, threatened to sue the university if the ad appeared.

After a serious of tumultuous meetings of the Texas Student Publications Board, at least one of which required protection by campus police (during one session a board member supportive of the ad on free-speech grounds, Professor John Murphy, was struck by a raging proponent of censorship), and after additional ADL pressure, this time brought to bear on the University of Texas’s Board of Regents from the ADL’s Dallas and Houston offices, the ADL got its way: last April 29, the Board rejected the Campus Project’s second advertisement. As Ross crowed in the group’s June 1992 newsletter: “It was a hard fought victory but well worth it in the context of the fact that, following the decision in Texas, not a single college or university newspaper has chosen to accept the second Bradley Smith ad.”

If at First You Don’t Succeed …

While the Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust can’t hope to match the ADL’s massive resources and terrifying influence, Director Bradley Smith is at the very least his censors' equal in persistence. Because his opinion ads were increasingly prey to rejection (thanks to nation-wide smear efforts led by the ADL and other Jewish groups), he decided to advertise for sale a tangible product: he reasoned that an accurate description of the product offered would be tougher to reject on the grounds that it was untruthful or “anti-Semitic.”

And CODOH’s Campus Project now had a product to offer, thanks to Smith’s cooperation with young Revisionist (and Jewish) video producer David Cole in making “David Cole Interviews Franciszek Piper.” This video is the most competent Revisionist film on Auschwitz — or any concentration camp site — to date, and contains dramatic evidence, in the form of an admission by Dr. Franciszek Piper, director of archives at the Auschwitz State Museum, that millions of tourists have been and continue to be misled as to the authenticity of the facility exhibited as a homicidal gas chamber at the Auschwitz I Main Camp.

Approaching the Daily Texan yet again, in February 1993, the Campus Project sought to publish a small advertisement for the video. The paper’s editorial board refused to publish it, not merely because its description supposedly misrepresented the facts — not about the video, but about the “Holocaust"! — but also because the student editors, evidently all too well “sensitized” by the ADL, claimed to detect a subtle but sneering reference to the earlier “Jewish Soap” ad in the new ad’s headline: “Auschwitz Director Comes Clean about Fraudulent 'Gas Chamber' in Exclusive Interview.” Yet again, it was “no soap” at the Daily Texan.

Once more, Smith went through the cumbersome procedure of appealing the campus paper’s decision, first to a review committee of the Texas Student Publications Board, and then to the entire board. Both bodies upheld the newspaper’s decision to reject.

But Smith still wasn’t giving up. Quickly, what David Cole called “Plan B” was put into effect: Smith now submitted a half-page “Open Letter to the Daily Texan,” written by Cole, in which the video’s producer explained, frankly and personally, the intellectual curiosity and skepticism that had led him to challenge the “Holocaust” gospel, and the concern for free inquiry and open discussion that motivated him, despite all the risks, to record and distribute the truth about the Auschwitz “gas chamber.”

The Daily Texan again refused a Campus Project ad, but on February 18, by a vote of 6-5, the Texas Student Publication Board overruled the paper’s editors. Cole’s open letter was published the next day.

The Reaction

Publication of the “Open Letter” set off a geyser of fury among Revisionism’s opponents, at the University of Texas and elsewhere. The university’s president, Robert Berdahl, weighed in with an intellectually flaccid and morally flabby “guest column” in the Daily Texan deploring the “insult” the advertisement allegedly inflicted on “the Jewish people.” As to the Holocaust, Berdahl, a self-described “German historian,” issued the following pronouncement, evidently meant to stand as a thundering ipse dixit: “It happened.” And, for weeks thereafter, the pages of the campus paper seethed with enraged denunciations by students and faculty members of Cole, Revisionism, and the TSP Board’s decision to permit the advertisement.

Opponents of free inquiry and of historical truth weren’t just writing letters, however. On the morning the Cole letter was published, two people in a pick-up truck were seen looting Daily Texan distribution bins; at least 3,000 copies of the paper were stolen that day, according to a subsequent story in the Daily Texan bearing the odd headline: “Holocaust Ad Provokes Theft, Draws Criticism.” If the story is to be believed, a campus policeman said that “no arrests were made because The Daily Texan decided not to file charges.”

There were the standard “campus protests,” too, as hundreds of students lobbied for the right of would-be intellectual Catchers in the Rye — like Berdahl and the wardens from the ADL — to rush periodically out of the undergrowth to drag students away from the threatening precipice of the tolerance, skepticism, and free discussion that brings intellectual maturity. On March 9, Jewish leaders, representatives of local gay and lesbian groups, the president of the Austin chapter of the NAACP, and at least four Texas state legislators spoke out against “intolerance” at a rally of the intolerant organized by the campus chapter of Hillel House (B'nai B'rith’s student branch), which has worked closely with the ADL from the opening of Smith’s campaign at the University of Texas.

Nine days after the “Open Letter” was published, the ADL’s Houston office issued an enraged, volcanic belch in the form of a letter to, not the Daily Texan, but the Houston Chronicle. Headlined “Stop Spreading Hatred,” the letter, written by Mark Wise and Barbara Harberg, chairman and director of the regional office, is a little masterpiece of spite, petulance, and menace. Brazenly revealed is the ADL’s 15-months-long campaign of intimidation against the campus paper and the student publications board. The ADL officials emotionally invoked the right of any newspaper to reject advertising “whose main purpose is to spread hatred, to promote anti-Semitism and to reduce the victims…,” and grimly pronounced: “Far from an issue of free speech, the publication of the Holocaust revisionist ad demonstrated an insensitivity which allows the rankest form of anti-Semitism to flourish.” One may hazard the guess that, after reading and digesting this ADL anathema, the staff of the Daily Texan and the members of the Texas Student Publications Board breathed prayerful thanks that they don’t happen to live in, say, the Gaza Strip.

Access at Last

Had the Battle of Austin ended with publication of Cole’s “Open Letter,” Smith and Cole could have declared moral victory, and then waited for a trickle of orders from Daily Texan readers curious enough to write for details on ordering the video. But friends of freedom were at work in Austin, making arrangements for Cole’s Auschwitz videotape to be shown on the area’s public-access cable channel. (As we have already mentioned, public-access television offers unrivalled opportunities to get out the Revisionist message. See the IHR Newsletter, Oct. 1992, p. 3)

Just as important, the Campus Project was able to disseminate specific information on the date and time of the showings. A provocative advertisement for the showings was accepted and published in the weekly television section of the Austin American-Statesman, the area’s main daily newspaper. And, in a 1960's-style “media event,” a local Campus Project supporter alerted the University of Texas at Austin to the video showings in unmistakable and unavoidable fashion: he drove around the UT campus and the city of Austin, proclaiming the upcoming programs in a 40-foot-long ad painted on both sides of his semi-trailer! Finally, during the week that his video will be broadcast, Cole was in Texas, where he was interviewed on at least two television programs.

As we go to press, it isn’t yet clear how many of those in the Austin area who receive cable television watched the video. What seems certain, though, is that, thanks to the unprecedented efforts of the ADL, and the resulting 15-month public controversy over placement of what started out as a simple, one-shot revisionist advertisement, the biggest audience to date watched the best Revisionist video presentation ever made. At long last, many thousands of Texans were able to see and hear the Revisionist case directly, and judge its merits for themselves.

The Campus Project’s combined media breakthrough in Austin represents its most significant victory to date, just as it marks perhaps the most stinging defeat yet inflicted on the Anti-Defamation League in its efforts to censor historical revisionists.