Richard M. Pious, Adolf and Effie Ochs Professor at Barnard College, writes me a nice note:
Dear Mr. Smith: I write to you with some alarm and urgency. Someone who is clearly, from the content of the communication below [my letter to Dr. Paul Shapiro, Director for the Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies at the USHMM], clinically insane, has sent me and many other individuals at Barnard and Columbia an e-mail, signing it with your name and organizational affiliation. Once you read this nonsense I'm sure you'll be as appalled as I was, but I do believe there is a way for you to proceed against this crank.
You can utilize the resources of various anti-spamming and anti-nuisance organizations to track this person down and obtain his assurance that he will avoid sending further idiotic e-mails to strangers using your name and affiliation. That should mitigate the damage this moron has caused you.
Don't you just hate it when someone uses these new technologies to borrow another person's identity, and then bother people with unsolicited communications?
Wishing you best of luck in tracking down this idiot, I am,
Richard M. Pious
Adolph and Effie Ochs Professor
I thank Professor Pious for his concern:
Dear Professor Pious: Thank you for writing. I confess to an immediate attraction to a man with a sense of the comic, even when it is a little too obvious. Nevertheless, this is a serious business, and the question remains. If we are to continue to exploit for our own benefit the charge of “unique” monstrosity against the Germans, and if we are going to hook our charge on the Auschwitz gas-chamber story, we really should have the name of one person, with proof, who was murdered there in a gas chamber. One out of a million?
I want to assure you that I sympathize with your predicament at Barnard and in the academic world generally. It is always difficult, and even dangerous, to challenge a taboo. It’s difficult and dangerous for those who live in a cargo cult, and as Orwell pointed out, it is particularly difficult and dangerous in a “free” society for those who are well educated.
The name of one person, with proof, and we can have done with this little escapade.
My best wishes.
Bradley R. Smith