To Alex Neve | Aug. 21, 2002 | Orest Slepokura

Holocaust Denial = Hate Crime?

Alex Neve, Secretary General,
Amnesty International Canada


A letter you wrote National Post ("Amnesty's side" - August 9, 2002) ends with a reference to "our call for an amendment of the Criminal Code to clearly establish Holocaust denial as a form of hate crime."

I am unclear as to what precisely you mean by "Holocaust denial." As one who has read widely on the subject of the Holocaust, I was struck by how the story of the Holocaust has changed down through the years. Such that, if, say, you subscribed to the 1980 version of Auschwitz, you'd say Nazis murdered 4 million people there. Were you to subscribe to the official 1990 version, you would claim the number of people murdered at Auschwitz was about 1.5 million -- a difference of 2.5 million. That's just one example; we can list plenty more similar contradictions.

Do you envisage a kind of intellectual speed-trap, where those who subscribe to a 2000 version of the Holocaust will be penalized for offending against the 1960 version? Do you look forward to a country where citizens are criminalized for such intellectual dissent against fundamentalist "official history?"

Or, conversely, one in which lunatic fringers are afforded the dignity of those expensive marathon trials generating lurid headlines and devouring millions of acres of newsprint and an epic number of hours in televised news segments where they coolly debauch the memory of the Holocaust? The lunatic fringers would, I dare say, regard you and, by extension, AI, as an ally of sorts, if not exactly a friend, for doing your part to help erect a platform for them whereby they might trumpet their message to the world; a world in which they could well find an audience of sympathizers thanks to such broad publicity.

Sincerely yours,

Orest Slepokura
Strathmore AB