The Holocaust Historiography Project

Arthur R. Butz archive

They Committed Suicide?

by Arthur R. Butz

Robert M. O'Neil is Director of the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression and author of Classrooms in the Crossfire: The Rights and Interests of Students, Parents, Teachers, Administrators, Librarians, and the Community. He is also former President of the Universities of Virginia and Wisconsin.

His most recent book is Free Speech in the College Community, Indiana University Press, Bloomington, 1997. The book seems an earnest effort to treat the announced subject. Several examples of instances in which freedom of expression issues were raised in college communities are used to elucidate O'Neil’s views, and my expressions of my views on the Holocaust are prominent among them.

In view of the importance O'Neil attaches to the Butz case, which already pushes academic freedom principles to the edge (p. xii), the reader should be disappointed that he has taken so little trouble to learn the content of my views. He wrote that I claim that six million Jews either suffered an epidemic or took their own lives during the late 1930s and early 1940s (pp. xi, 27).

Distortion of this magnitude is not unprecedented but I had not heard this particular canard before. Therefore I can only assume that O'Neil did not get this misrepresentation of my views from a source he chose to trust, and just invented it for the occasion. Such is the level of discourse today.

18 November 1997.

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