Saturday, April 25, 2009

Western Illinois University

This letter to the editor by Christopher Kovacs Ph.D. was published by The Western Currier at Western Illinois University. It's a little remarkable for me to understand that, repeatedly, the professors and others respond not to the text of the ad, asking for the name, with proof, of one person killed in a gas chamber at Auschwitz, but to what the implications of the text are. Still, if a Ph.D professor does not understand that he needs to address the text that he's going off on, what good does it do to have done all the work he needed to do to get his degree in the first place?

Letter to the editor


I would like to address the recent "advertisement" submitted by Mr. Bradley R. Smith of the Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust in the April 20 issue of the Western Courier. Specifically, I would like to address Mr. Smith's call for research on proof of whether the Holocaust actually occurred. Let's do it. Let us examine the evidence and see if we can provide insight into whether the Holocaust really did happen or was a world-wide fabrication.

As any scholarly researcher knows, you need to begin with gathering background information and primary source data. So I submit to Mr. Smith the following ideas for examining this historical "question":

1. Speak directly with the president of this university, Dr. Alvin Goldfarb about whether the Holocaust occurred and whether there is any direct proof of it's occurrence to him or its effect on his family.

2. Board an airplane to Eastern Pennsylvania and spend some time talking with my sister's father-in-law. Specifically, ask him about those permanently tattooed numbers on his forearm. How did he get them? By choice? Could this be proof?

3. Finally, find a former GI who happened to liberate Buchenwald in the spring of 1945 and ask him if there is any "proof"? Trust me, there are still many WWII veterans out there and it would be important to talk to someone who actually lived during this period of world history that you are questioning.

I realize this may take a little work on your own part, but, really, isn't exposing this supposed "historical lie" worth a little time and effort on your own part?

I am sure that many of us had the same feelings of disgust, sadness, bitterness, anger, etc. when reading this advertisement on Monday. And deservedly so. But as a member of a non-Jewish faith, but with very close personal ties to many Jewish individuals, I also found humor. Humor in the sense that individuals like Bradley Smith and organizations like the Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust actually believe that their hate, distorted beliefs, and re-writing of history will be believed by this generation of young students, and the next generation, and the next, and so on.

Give this generation (and all future generations) credit for seeing the truth of the Holocaust and understanding our history. No amount of false advertising or bigotry will ever prevent that from happening.

-Christopher Kovacs Ph.D.
Assistant Professor
Department of Kinesiology


Following is the reply I posted to The Western Currier.

Professor Kovacs:

Please read the text of my ad one more time. You will see that it does not call for research on whether the Holocaust actually occurred. Isn’t that right?

I would be glad to chat up your President Alvin Goldfarb if I can be assured he will at least try to provide the name, with proof, of one person killed in a gas chamber at Auschwitz. Do you believe that is the case?

With regard to your sister’s father-in-law having numbers tattooed on his forearm, are you saying that he can answer the question posed in my ad?

What does your observation about American military liberating Buchenwald have to do with proof that one person was killed in a gas chamber at Auschwitz? There is Buchenwald, you see, and then there is Auschwitz. See the difference?

You can, if you like, project hate, distorted beliefs, bigotry, and false advertising onto the text of my ad, but I would suggest that you should first treat with the specific text, and not what you see as the implications of the text. Once you do this primary work, then it would not appear to me to be unreasonable for you to attach to it whatever ad hominem attack you wish. In the meantime. . . .

Thank you.

Bradley Smith


Anonymous said...

I like the way your ad, if people are allowed to look at it, forces little tremors in the faculty of the schools. They seem to be terrified. When one raises his voice to answer your call with a bold assertion of everything that is so easily supposed they end up looking like fools.
The seemingly indefensible position of questioning history (and those authorities who make their livings by protecting it from evils like free speech and open inquiry) suddenly seems like a moral stand against a group of foolish "me too" college professionals desperate, above all else, to maintain their positions, prestige and perogatives.
When they reply it is like the light of day shining into a dark infested place. When they open their mouths or unsheath their pens we see all to clearly that they are empty vessels proudly placed high on shelves.
It is no wonder that they seem to despise you, you dare them to risk their pride in a debate, a debate that looks simple, you dare them to risk their pride and you bring them down like leering bowling pins.
You, Mr. Smith, are my hero.
Thank you.

Anonymous said...

I'm with S, who nailed it precisely.

And I thought that all of my heroes were dead. Silly me.

~ MB

Anonymous said...

I went to the newspaper website to read the comments section. Apparently, the entire article and the comments section has been removed. How typical. We live in a nation of cowards.