Students denounce posters questioning Holocaust at University of Calgary
'It's really disappointing and shocking that inflammatory posters like this were put up,' student leader says
Some students at the University of Calgary are speaking out after posters questioning whether six million Jews were really killed in the Holocaust were put up around the campus.
The dozen or so posters were taken down immediately last week.
Jordan Waldman, head of Hillel Calgary, a students' group affiliated with the Calgary Jewish Federation, says the messages were blatantly anti-Semitic.
"The six million who died in the Holocaust, that is a number that's been proven. It's not up for academic debate," he said.
"So this question in itself, it's a poster promoting Holocaust denial."
It's the second troubling incident of its kind so far this academic year, said Students' Union president Stephen Guscott. Last fall, dozens of anti-Muslim posters showed up on campus.
"I think it's really disappointing and shocking that inflammatory posters like this were put up around campus," he said.
"I think it's really important for our campus to have a focus on diversity and inclusivity, and I think posters like this stand in the way of that."
Linked to 'prominent Holocaust deniers'
According to B'Nai Brith Canada, the "Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust" (CODOH) has taken credit for putting up the posters.
"Prominent CODOH figures include German-Canadian Holocaust deniers Alfred and Monika Schaefer, and suspended University of Lethbridge professor Anthony Hall," B'Nai Brith said in a press release.
U of C student Nolan Hill, who saw one of the posters taped to a door at MacEwan Hall, the main student centre, later looked up some of the names and organizations mentioned on it.
"They were all coming up as very prominent Holocaust deniers," he said.
Among the names listed on one of the posters was infamous neo-Nazi Ernst Zundel, who was convicted in Canada for "spreading false news" before the Supreme Court overturned the conviction, saying that the charge violated his Charter right to freedom of expression. Zundel was then deported to his native Germany, where he served five years for inciting racial hatred.
"So it's just really concerning that someone would think to put those up here, because I think we are quite a welcoming and diverse campus," Hill said.
In a written statement, the university says it is committed to open debate and a diversity of opinion while sustaining an inclusive and respectful environment.