Anti-Semitic posters found in restricted area of Sidgwick

Image credit: Khushali Dodhia

Following a recent spate of anti-Semitic incidents, flyers denying the Holocaust have been found in access-restricted areas of the Institute of Criminology, according to an email sent to members of the Institute.

An email sent to members of the Institute from Professor Loraine Gelsthorpe, its Deputy Director, reveals that someone had "found some [anti-Semitic] literature in the Institute, and in places where only those who have card access would normally have access”.

In response to a request for clarification about who has card access to the Institute, Professor Gelsthorpe replied: "Hundreds of students from a wide range of departments use the Institute of Criminology each week. 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 (since it is a restricted access area).

"On the other hand, one might also imagine one person holding the door open for another (student or member of the public) and that person gaining entry, regardless of whether or not they had card access. Since a large number of people use the computer room they do not always know one another. We will be reviewing access to the computer room and considering the possibility of a CCTV camera."

According to the email, a poster entitled “Who’s telling us our story?”, was left in the Institute’s computer room. Following the distribution of similar flyers on the Sidgwick site last week, the police were notified of swastikas drawn on a map of Jesus Green, and anti-Semitic posters were removed from Christ’s College.

Cambridge’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Sir Leszek Borysiewicz, has issued a statement “strongly condemn[ing] the distribution of Holocaust denial leaflets across the University and elsewhere.

“The University of Cambridge is an inclusive, diverse and welcoming community. I urge you to join me in encouraging understanding, respect and open dialogue among all groups – within the University in particular and society in general.”

Professor Gelsthorpe’s email asks staff and students of the Institute to “be vigilant in ensuring that only those who are entitled to use the computer room and other restricted access places do so”.

In response to a request for comment, the Institute added: "We have echoed the Vice Chancellor’s absolute condemnation of the distribution of anti-Semitic literature. All anti-Semitic material that was found has been destroyed. We have asked staff and students to be vigilant because this is a very serious and disturbing matter - a police matter, ultimately. If we learn anything about the distribution of the literature in the Institute we will make appropriate referral.)"

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