In a letter addressed to the senior leadership of the Library of Congress, the American Library Association, the New York Public Library, the National Library of Israel, and the British Library, WJC Associate Executive Vice President Menachem Rosensaft noted that works that deny the Holocaust should have no role in their institutions and should at the very least be reclassified to more clearly distinguish with works that commemorate the memory of the Holocaust.
The letter highlights the disturbing findings of the World Jewish Congress's recent research on the treatment of Holocaust denial literature in various libraries. While the research is not exhaustive, it is in line with the findings of other studies and reveals that works that deny the Holocaust can be found alongside books about the Holocaust, both offline and online, in libraries' catalogs.
"Clearly, that type of text should not be available in those institutions. Works that deny the Holocaust have no more place in a public, national, or university library than hardcore pornography," the letter states.
Placing books that deny the Holocaust alongside books about the Holocaust lends Holocaust denying content an undeserved credibility and does a disservice to the pursuit of academic research and intellectual honesty, Rosensaft wrote.
“Distinguishing clearly between books about the Holocaust, books that deny the Holocaust, and those that criticize Holocaust denial is not just the ethical and moral duty of libraries...Placing these types of books together also does a disservice to the pursuit of academic research and to those engaged in intellectually honest research,” Rosensaft concluded.
The World Jewish Congress remains committed to promoting Holocaust education and fighting against Holocaust denial. It is crucial that libraries take this issue seriously and take steps to ensure that Holocaust denial literature is not unintentionally given a platform and credibility in their institutions.