AHA Activities

AHA Statement on Holocaust Denial

AHA Staff, December 1991

7) Other Business: a) Holocaust Statement: At its spring, 1991 meeting, Council discussed a Teaching Division recommendation encouraging a response to recent mailings from an Illinois couple who questioned the reality of the Nazi Holocaust. There was extensive discussion during the spring meeting and several draft statements were reviewed. Following Mr. Luechtenburg's urging that the Associatoin not set a precedent in certifying historical facts, Council approved a statement by a vote of 9 ayes and 1 nay encouraging the study of the significance of the Holocaust. Subsequent media coverage, particularly in the Chronicle of Higher Education, was not favorable, and during the course of the 1991 annual meeting literature was distributed outside the AHA's headquarters hotel by individuals form the Institute for Historical Review, a group which denies the existence of the Holocaust.

Ms. Socolow noted that the Chronicle article had identified her as taking a strong stand on the issue and that she had therefore been contacted by several individuals. She presented to Council a petition, which had been circulated during the meeting, that urged the Council to take a public position against the attempt to deny the Holocaust and called for a statement affirming that the Holocaust had occured. She stated that the membership was very sensitive to what the Council had not done at its May meeting, and several other Council members agreed that the membership was asking the Council to take a strong, unequivocal stand. Following additional discussion, Council unanimously approved the following statement:

The American Historical Association Council strongly deplores the publicly reported attempts to deny the fact of the Holocaust. No serious historian questions that the Holocaust took place.