Thursday, April 27, 2017

Holocaust denial materials prompt concerns after distribution at Australian universities

Posters questioning the historical accuracy of the Holocaust have sparked concerns among students at the Australian National University (ANU) and at least two other universities where they were distributed.

On Friday students found flyers and posters at the ANU campus that give support to the views of controversial British writer David Irving, who has questioned the overwhelming body of evidence supporting the existence of the Holocaust.

The materials point to a website that includes questions about whether gas chambers existed at concentration camps.

ANU Students Association president James Connolly said the posters made reference to the new movie Denial, which dramatized a court case involving Mr Irving.

"There were a series of flyers and posters that had been found around the gym ... that challenged the historical authenticity of the Holocaust," Mr Connolly said.

"The impetus for the posters had come from a new film called Denial — the subject of the film was about Holocaust denial.

"It was challenging whether that film had resolved the matter of whether the Holocaust had actually happened."

Mr Connolly said it was not clear who distributed the flyers, but they were similar to ones that appeared on campus last year.

University 'appalled' by flyers

Mr Connolly said the materials were taken down immediately. "I was aware that it had happened in Victorian Universities," he said. "Holocaust denial is hate speech — it's usually peddling an agenda of anti-Semitism and it really has no place in an environment which values tolerance and inclusion."

A statement from the university also condemned the materials. "The University is appalled by the distribution of derogatory material on campus," it said. "The Vice-Chancellor has made it clear that the distribution of derogatory and inappropriate material is completely unacceptable. "ANU Security removed the fliers, and is reviewing CCTV footage to identify the perpetrators."

Melbourne University confirmed similar flyers were also distributed on its campus two weeks ago. A small number of flyers were also found in a carpark at Monash University. Police were notified of both incidents in Victoria.



Anonymous said...

Why is the "Holocaust" only about Jews, and therefore the denial is "anti-Semitic"? Many other social groups were persecuted and sent to concentration camps - gypsies, Jehova Witnesses, communists, socialists, trade-unionists, male and female homosexuals, disapproved artists of any sort, or anyone else who seemed deviant to the Nazi regime. So, it could just as well be called "anti-Romany" or "homophobic", etc., as anti-Semitic.

Anonymous said...

These flyers are part of a larger effort by socialist belonging affiliated with student unions. Why are our university students treated like kindergarten children? Perhaps it is because they have been led by socialist teachers/lecturers/professors since they were children. It is time to end the politics of the student unions once and for all. They should be an assistance to students not political force that controls students. De-politicise the student unions now.

Spurwing Plover the fighting shorebird said...

Those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it

Anonymous said...

I am much more concerned at the reaction of these universities than by the flyers.
Confrontational - even radical views - BELONG on University campuses.
Denying the right of such views to be aired should be anathema to these places.
And the tone of wanting to ensure students are not exposed to such unpopular views for fear they might be OFFENDED is risible.
If they were loony left posters no doubt the University would have risen to the free speech challenge.

Stan B said...

University Students should be mature enough to do their own research into how accurate these sorts of propaganda events are, and make their own decisions without having to be "helped along" by the University towards the truth.

Of course, that would require work - and critical thinking skills. The last thing most Unis want is their students to be able to think critically. Better that they simply accept the Uni talking points - about EVERYTHING.

Anonymous said...

Students do not have the knowledge of what happened 70 years ago in order to make informed opinions. The horror was so great that it is hard for some to believe it.

Bill Mullins said...

I disagree with banning such material just as much as I would a ban on holocaust-centered material. Liberty is never harmed when dissenting views however idiotic and self-serving) are suppressed. If the historical validity of the Holocaust is so delicate that is may not be questioned then its validity IS questionable. There is no such thing as "hate speech". It cannot be rigorously defined. If a thing admits of no rigorous, objective definition, then it is merely a subjective judgement call and liberty must NEVER be held hostage to any individual's judgement.