About a dozen flyers promoting Holocaust denial were posted around the University of Calgary campus earlier this month.
According to a statement by a university spokesperson, students, staff and campus security promptly removed the flyers, which went up on Feb. 13.
“Security did investigate initially, but nothing materialized. There is no ongoing investigation at this point,” the university said Feb. 22.
The posters directed readers to a website for the Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust, a California-based Holocaust denial website run by people who “no longer believe the gas chamber stories… or the ‘genocide’ theory.”
The poster also listed the names of notorious Holocaust deniers including Ernst Zundel, a German-Canadian convicted in 2007 of 14 counts of incitement of racial hatred and sentenced to five years in prison.
The posters, titled “If the ‘5 million’ didn’t die, did the ‘6 million’ really die?” included excerpts from a Jan. 31 JTA article titled “‘Remember the 11 million’? Why an inflated victims tally irks Holocaust historians.”
The JTA article claims that the five million figure was arbitrarily chosen by Holocaust survivor and Nazi hunter Simon Wiesenthal in the 1970s.
“He wanted a number large enough to attract the attention of non-Jews who might not otherwise care about Jewish suffering, but not larger than the actual number of Jews who were murdered in the Holocaust, six million,” JTA reported.
The article, which focused on the White House decision to exclude the mention of Jews from its Holocaust remembrance statement in January, noted that the inaccurate number of non-Jewish victims is often used by Holocaust deniers to dismiss the six million figure as it relates to Jewish victims.
Hillel Calgary director Jordan Waldman said the poster, which “raised the hair on the back of my neck,” was shown to him by a student.
“It was brought to campus security’s attention… and we made sure they followed through on it,” Waldman said.
He said although security did contact Calgary police, they did not file a police report.
Part of the campus investigation included examining security cameras. Waldman said while there was footage of someone posting the flyers, campus security could not make out a face in order to identify the perpetrator.
Waldman said incidents like this are uncommon at the University of Calgary.
“The last couple of years have been pretty quiet… We have a good working relationship with administration, student leadership and many different clubs,” he said, adding that the school has a population of about 100 Jewish students.
“These posters are part of a systematic campaign to spread far-right anti-Semitism on Canadian campuses – first in Lethbridge, and now in Calgary,” said Ryan Bellerose, B’nai Brith Canada’s League for Human Rights’ western advocacy co-ordinator, referring to the suspension of University of Lethbridge professor Anthony Hall for his promotion of Holocaust denial theories in October.
“The University of Calgary should be praised for swiftly removing these hateful and manipulative posters,” Bellerose added.