Michael Schwalb, b.1901; Rachel Brat, b.1910; Szlomo Gross, b.1920; Avram Curitki, b.1895; Chana Zommer, b.1915; Frymed Due, b.1896; Jchiel Rubinstein, b.1912; Eljasz Jurysta, b.1912; Podlaski, b.1942; Chaja Bialostocki, b.1919; Jakob Keitl, b.1884; Julijus Flachs, b.1904; Yakov Gelbert, b.1912; Mindla Polska, b.1904; Mosze Sztajn, b.1912; Rachel Grynszpan, b.1900
These 16 names are from Yad Vashem’s Israeli Holocaust Memorial database of Holocaust victims. In order to place a name in the database, the surviving family and friends of the exterminated must fill out a page of testimony. If the Holocaust did not happen, are millions of people inventing lost loves ones and mourning mere fantasies?
This is exactly what Bradley Smith of the Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust contends. Bradley Smith recently attempted to place his hateful advertisement in college newspapers across the country. The Badger Herald, unlike the vast majority of other college newspapers, accepted the advertisement under the guise of free speech.
Newspapers, however, are supposed to be protected by free speech; they are not required to protect it. I, too, believe if raving neo-Nazi idiots want to blabber on about pseudo-scientific bullshit, then the First Amendment protects their right to do so. What the First Amendment or a commitment to free speech does not require, however, is that a serious student publication allow an ad that makes a mockery of every Jew whose family tree has been whittled down to a pathetic twig due to Nazi extermination.
The Badger Herald accepted the advertisement when other college newspapers did not, knowing this media circus would unfold. They knew their message boards would light up with Holocaust deniers masquerading hateful lunacy as a thirst for knowledge and they knew other UW students and faculty (like Biddy Martin) would rightfully attempt to combat such bigotry.
The Badger Herald did not accept the advertisement to protect the First Amendment, but rather chose the pornography of controversy over journalistic and moral standards. The Badger Herald let its message boards and advertisement page turn into purveyors of hate speech for a little publicity. The paper should be held accountable for holding raving reproachful lunacy in the same regard it does rational, fact-based arguments.
This publication has shamed itself. On links starting with www.badgerherald.com, Holocaust deniers from around Madison and the country are coming together to promulgate anti-Semitism on this paper’s message board. When people spewing hate speech could not find a place in legitimate dialogue, The Badger Herald lent its hand to those anonymously posting cowards.
The Badger Herald, by accepting that advertisement, placed this column one click away from Holocaust denial. Therefore, it seems imperative that the column end with the greatest piece of truth Holocaust deniers cannot refute. The Jews of Europe are all but extinct. In Poland, before 1939 there were 3.5 million Jews; now that number is a paltry 25,000. The world Jewish population before the holocaust was 15.3 million, and after 65 years of healing and recuperation the world Jewish population is still below that level, standing at 13.2 million. Much of world Jewry vanished, and not into thin air, but rather into open air pits of bullet riddled corpses and suffocating gas chambers filled with Zyklon B.
I call on Bradley Smith, the hateful bigots who take up The Badger Herald message board and Holocaust deniers everywhere to tell me where these people went.
Max Manasevit ([email protected]) is a sophomore majoring in philosophy.