Flyers bearing anti-Semitic material have been found in University-owned buildings on the Sidgwick Site, including a computer room of the Institute of Criminology which can only be accessed through use of a CAMCard.
A student told Varsity that they had found a flyer in the junior combination room of the Faculty of History expressing support for David Irving, the notorious Holocaust-denier who was also found to be an anti-Semite and racist by a court in 2000.
The same Holocaust-denying flyers as were left in the combination room of the Faculty of History were discovered last week underneath cars’ windscreens.
An e-mail circulated amongst the staff of the Institute of Criminology states that the flyer discovered there is entitled ‘Who’s telling us our story?’, the same as the title given to the flyers which were left on the cars, which suggests that it too is the same material.
The discovery of this flyer is significant, however, because of its location in a CAMCard access-only area, which theoretically only members of the University should be able to enter. However, it is possible that an individual without a CAMCard could have gained access to the room by other means.
Professor Loraine Gelsthorpe , the Deputy Director oif the Institute of Criminology who circulated the e-mail, told Varsity that while “one might jump to a particular conclusion and assume that the notice found in the Computer Room had been placed there by someone with card access to the room”, on the other hand “one might also imagine a student holding the door open for another student and that person gaining entry, regardless of whether or not they had card access. Since a large number of students use the computer room they do not always know one another.”
She said that the Institute “will be reviewing access to and surveillance of the computer room.”
Professor Gelsthorpe also indicated that the same leaflet was found in “public areas of the Institute”, suggesting that an individual might have picked one up to look at it and subsequently left it in a CAMCard access-only room.
She said that “all anti-Semitic material that was found has been destroyed”, adding: “If we learn anything about the distribution of the literature in the Institute we will make appropriate referral.”
The e-mail urges staff and students “to be vigilant in ensuring that only those who are entitled to use the computer room and other restricted access places do so, and to let the Custodian or Reception know if you spot anyone distributing anti-Semitic leaflets.”
It concludes: “We strongly condemn the distribution of Holocaust denial leaflets within the Institute of Criminology, across the University, and elsewhere.”
This echoes previous condemnation from the Vice-Chancellor of the University, who said: “The increase in the number of racist incidents nationally deeply concerns me and should remind us that we must be ever vigilant in the face of racism and bigotry.
“The recent commemoration of International Holocaust Remembrance Day should remind us all of the horrors of racism and all acts of hatred and aggression against any religious or racial group. I strongly condemn the distribution of Holocaust denial leaflets across the University and elsewhere.”
The political group Cambridge Unite Against Fascism has also weighed in, issuing a statement which accuses the author of the leaflets of trying “to sanitise and make respectable the crimes committed in Nazi Germany.”
They added: “Fascism threatens the safety of Black, Jewish, Muslim, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people of Cambridge including students and academics. Wherever fascists are active or have a presence, racist attacks and other hate crimes increase.
“This is why Unite Against Fascism believes that Nazis should not be given a platform in public places, including universities.”
The leaflets are just one of a number of anti-Semitic incidents to blight Cambridge recently. Shortly after the discovery of the leaflets, two swastika symbols were found drawn on a map on Jesus Green.
Varsity has contacted the Cambridge University Jewish Society for comment
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