Arrest In Elie Wiesel Assault Case A Reminder Of The Potency Of Holocaust Denial
Update: On July 21, 2008, a San Francisco jury convicted Eric Hunt of multiple charges for his bias-motivated attack on Holocaust survivor and Nobel Laureate Elie Wiesel. More
New York, NY, February 20, 2007 … The arrest of a Holocaust denier in an assault on Nobel Peace Laureate Elie Wiesel delivers "a very clear message that Holocaust denial is unacceptable and must be taken seriously because it can have grave consequences," the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) said today.
A self-proclaimed Holocaust denier, Eric Hunt, 22, of Sussex County, NJ, was arrested February 17 on charges of attempted kidnapping, false imprisonment, elder abuse, stalking, battery and the commission of a hate crime. After the February 1 assault in San Francisco, Mr. Hunt allegedly posted an account boasting of the attack on Web sites frequented by Holocaust deniers and anti-Semites.
"The arrest provides an opportunity to deliver a very clear message that Holocaust denial is unacceptable," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "This brazen attack on Elie Wiesel was a reminder that Holocaust denial still has currency among Jew haters and is one of the more virulent strains of anti-Semitism. It also can have very grave consequences -- both on a personal level and on a national and international level -- and must be taken seriously, whether it comes from an individual like Eric Hunt, or a political leader like the Iranian president."
Prior to his arrest, Eric Hunt described the attack in Internet posts to anti-Semitic and Holocaust denial sites, according to ADL's Internet Monitoring Unit, which maintains up-to-date information on dozens of extremist sites. Hunt's description of the assault has since been widely disseminated on the Internet, and currently appears on most major neo-Nazi and anti-Semitic Web sites and forums, where he is being applauded for the attack.
In the post, Hunt bragged about the attack, telling readers that he had been "trailing" Wiesel for weeks, with the goal of confronting the Holocaust survivor and author and getting him to "admit" that his account of his experiences during the Holocaust "is almost entirely fictitious." The post claimed that there was never a plan to exterminate the Jews during World War II, that the gas chambers were not used to kill Jews, and that Jews were the enemy of the Germans.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.