O P I N I O N
by David Cukier
David Cukier, a child of two Holocaust Survivors, studied Pharmacology at University College London, 1975-1978, where he also participated in some Jewish and Yiddish studies activities. He has released to Defending History for publication his letter to the president and provost of UCL, Professor Malcolm Grant, expressing concern over the Hebrew and Jewish Studies Department hosting a second Lithuanian government sponsored one-sided Holocaust conference.
In his covering letter to DH.com, Mr. Cukier adds:
“My concern relates to the personal experiences related to me by my parents and extended family who lived in many countries across Europe during the war, and never failed to stress the importance of relating the truth of what happened during those years. This is what is at stake when we confront Holocaust deniers and Holocaust revisionists, whether individuals , governments or academics. It also relates to present day political movements and governments who deny the authenticity of the Holocaust as a means of de facto delegitimization of the national aspirations of the Jewish people.”
- London, 29 November 2012
- The Provost
- University College London
- Subject: UCL Conference on December 17th and 18th 2012: Jews and Non-Jews in Lithuania: Coexistence, Cooperation, Violence
- Dear Professor Grant,
- I write to you in about a matter of great concern to me regarding an event due to held at UCL on Monday and Tuesday, December 17th and 18th 2012, namely an “International conference” on the topic “Jews and non-Jews in Lithuania: Coexistence, Cooperation, Violence” to be held under the auspices of the University.
- My concern as a former student is that for the second time in two years UCL is about to make a second grave error by hosting this conference which is designed to foster and develop a revisionist historical perspective, intended to re-write the objective historical narrative established by many years of careful and high quality historical research by many academics of the highest credentials all over the world, on the well known and established history of the Jews in the Baltics before and during World War II.
- The impetus for this conference is funding from the government of Lithuania that sees its political interest in revising the historical narrative and factual accuracy of the history of the Baltics during World War II for its own current politically expedient policies. That this should happen a mere seventy odd years after the horrific events of the Holocaust in Europe, and under the auspices of UCL which has throughout its history been a beacon institution for researching the truth and determining the facts, is tragic and potentially a blemish on the reputation of UCL.
- I call upon you as the Accountable Officer of UCL to examine the hosting of this conference and the authenticity of the historical research that is to be presented. I also urge you to examine the motivation for the funding for this conference, whether advisedly and legitimately sourced for establishing objective history, for the purposes of adding to the body of historical research, or rather, as it seems, actually designed to misrepresent, and develop a re-writing of historical truth for misguided political purposes. Surely such a position is an untenable position for UCL to uphold, and warrants careful inquiry by you, on the advisability of holding under the College’s auspices this planned conference.
- David Cukier