On Tuesday, however, The Harvard Crimson, in what it said was an error, ran the Holocaust-questioning advertisement, which had been rejected by the paper over the summer.
In response to the commotion created by the ad, Crimson President Maxwell L. Child released a statement Wednesday citing three weeks of summer vacation between the submission of the advertisement and the publication of the paper as the explanation for why the ad “fell through the cracks.”
“We want to stress that we do not endorse the views put forth in any advertisement that runs in The Crimson, and this case was no different,” Child said in a letter to Crimson readers. “We will work hard to avoid such lapses in communication in the future, and hope our readers will accept that yesterday’s error was a logistical failure and not a philosophical one.”
The ad, paid for by Holocaust denier Bradley R. Smith and his Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust, primarily raises questions about then-Gen. Dwight Eisenhower’s account of World War II and the existence of Nazi gas chambers.
It is widely accepted that approximately 5.7 million of Europe’s 7.3 million Jews perished during the war. In total, historians say, between 11 million and 17 million people were killed by the Nazi regime, including religious and political opponents, ethnic Poles, Romani, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Soviet civilians and prisoners of war, homosexuals and people with disabilities.
Smith said he is not surprised by the reaction because “it’s taboo, and has been taboo from the beginning. When you break a culture-wide taboo, supported in theory and practice by the state, the university and the press, you create a fuss.”