Arsonists struck a building near Texas’s San Antonio Airport that houses the Holocaust History Project, a Web-based archive of documents related to the genocide perpetrated by the Nazis.
The fire destroyed 2,000 books related to the Holocaust, a number of backup servers and a pair of military uniforms worn by a judge at the Dachau trials.
A statement posted on the History Project’s Web site declared that the fire “was just the latest in a series of attacks with the apparent intent to silence THHP.” According to the statement, a virus devised by Holocaust deniers has been attacking the servers of the History Project for the past 18 months in an attempt to shut them down.
The History Project frequently posts articles by scholars refuting the work of Holocaust deniers.
According to Randy Jenkins, a spokesman for the San Antonio Fire Department, the fire “has definitely been ruled an arson.” Jenkins declined to discuss the evidence, saying it would be inappropriate in an ongoing investigation. The fire caused about $350,000 worth of damage and took the efforts of 44 people to extinguish.
“There is no indication that this is a hate crime,” Jenkins told the Forward. He explained that people who carry out hate crimes generally leave behind some means of identification, such as graffiti.
Martin Kaminsky, regional director of the Anti-Defamation League Southwest Region, said that the ADL has been in touch with local and federal law enforcement agencies about the possibility of treating the case as a hate crime. “Holocaust deniers present a unique situation,” he said. “They’re potentially more sophisticated, more challenging.” Kaminsky stressed that the ADL was only expressing concerns and that he didn’t know yet what the evidence would turn up.
The building, located at 600 Sandau Road, also contained scientific instruments and engineering teaching equipment owned by the British American Scientific Instrument Corporation, and 43 years of company records. The president of the company, Harry Mazal, is one of the primary organizers of the Holocaust History Project.
None of the History Project’s most valuable materials were in the warehouse. Mazal stores them in a library, the location of which he keeps secret — “for obvious reasons.”
“You can’t be intimidated by aggression,” Mazal said. “The minute you do, they’ll come after you again. I will use the law — and force, if necessary — to defend my rights.”