The Harvard Crimson ran a controversial advertisement on page seven of yesterday’s paper that suggested that the Holocaust did not occur, sparking outrage across campus.
The advertisement, submitted by Bradley Smith, founder of the Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust, challenged readers to “provide, with proof, the name of one person killed in a gas chamber at Auschwitz.” It has been pulled, and will not run on other days this week as originally requested by Smith.
News of the advertisement spread quickly as students expressed their shock and anger over various organization and House e-mail lists. The Crimson received over 20 separate e-mails as well as a joint letter signed by over 30 undergraduates—including several Crimson editors.
“Some of us are the grandchildren of Holocaust survivors and were deeply hurt by the implication that those stories passed on to us of our past—of lives lost and families destroyed—were all lies concocted by a vast Jewish conspiracy,” the joint letter said.
Upon seeing the ad in the paper, Harvard Hillel leaders contacted Crimson President Maxwell L. Child ’10, requesting that a formal apology be printed in the paper.
The advertisement’s publication was the result of miscommunication and failed oversight, according to Child, who wrote in a statement published online last night that the ad was printed even though The Crimson had decided earlier in the summer not to run it.
“Unfortunately, with three weeks of vacation between submission and publication, that decision fell through the cracks,” Child wrote in a statement. “While running the ad was not our intent, we accept responsibility for our failure to carry out the planned cancellation.”
He stressed that The Crimson does not endorse views put forth in any advertisement, though the University daily is in fact responsible for all its published content.
Citing the lapse in communication, Child wrote that he hopes The Crimson’s readers will accept that the error was “a logistical failure and not a philosophical one.”
Child declined to comment beyond what was in the statement.
Hillel undergraduate President Rebecca D. Gillette ’10 sent an e-mail to Hillel’s listserv yesterday evening regarding the circumstances surrounding the advertisement’s placement.
“The fact that [The Crimson] took responsibility for their actions is very impressive,” Gillette said in an interview later.
—Staff writer June Q. Wu can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.