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Holocaust Denial Leaflets Are Being Distributed At Australian Universities

"The Holocaust may yet turn out to be the greatest robbery in the history of mankind."

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Flyers claiming the Holocaust didn't happen have been found on university campuses in New South Wales, Victoria, and the ACT.

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Students spotted the material on campuses at Monash University, the University of Melbourne, the Australian National University, and the University of NSW. There are also unconfirmed reports they have been distributed at the University of Sydney.

The flyers, titled "The Greatest Swindle of All Time", encourage students to visit a conspiracy theory website and use the hashtag #Holohoax.

Quoting controversial American political scientist Norman Finkelstein, a longstanding critic of Israel, the flyer asserts that the genocide during World War II never occurred and that the study of the Final Solution is "sheer fraud".

Finkelstein says the Holocaust might be "the greatest robbery in the history of mankind" and that Jewish people exploit the legacy of the Holocaust as an "ideological weapon" to profit from Western guilt.

In recent months there has also been a series of anti-Semitic graffiti, including more than a dozen incidents of Nazi swastikas, found inside classrooms at the University of Western Australia's Crawley campus.

It is not known who has been distributing the anti-Semitic flyers, but similar ones, with the same content but different formatting, have been spotted at Glasgow University.

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It's suspected thousands of the flyers have been left at campuses across Australia since the start of the year.

The first reported sighting was in a Melbourne University car park on 29 February.

Universities and student associations have condemned the material and passed information on to police, but Melbourne and Monash say that as the author of the flyer is unknown, they can't pursue punishment.

A spokesperson from the ANU told BuzzFeed News they are "appalled by the distribution of derogatory material on campus".

ANU has removed the flyers and is reviewing CCTV footage to identify the perpetrators for referral to police. Under the ACT Litter Act they could face a fine of up to $5,000, and the university said if they are found to be staff or students they could be disciplined.

Vice chancellors from each uni have met affected students, but told them they don't want to give oxygen to the discrimination by directly acknowledging the material is anti-Semitic.

This decision has left many student associations frustrated.

The Australasian Union of Jewish Students (AUJS) is calling for tougher action against racism on university campuses.

“Everyone has the right to feel safe and welcome on campus," AUJS national chair Michael Fisher told BuzzFeed News. "Australian universities must vigorously tackle the surge in anti-Semitism, and identify and punish the groups which are disseminating this poison.

“It is vital that student bodies and university authorities work with Jewish groups to educate the student population on anti-Semitism and the destructive effects of racist hate speech.”

Fisher suspects the "toxic propaganda" is a coordinated campaign by neo-Nazi groups aimed at intimidating Jewish students and academics.

He says there's been a rise in discriminatory material against Jewish people in Australia since the return of One Nation and the push by conservatives to amend the Racial Discrimination Act.

"It's a contemptible attempt to abuse and isolate Jewish students and staff," he said, "many of whom lost family in the Holocaust and whose grandparents in Australia are survivors of the genocide."

Fisher believes the language used is similar to flyers previously distributed at Sydney University by far-right groups.

"Although the leaflets are closely similar to one another in content and appearance, they have appeared in three slightly different forms, suggesting that there have been three separate print runs," he said.

The leaflet encourages "gentlemen" who want "the facts" ("not the Hollywood production") to visit a website called "The chemtrail atrocity right here in greater Geelong 2016".

Chemtrail Geelong / Via chemtrailsgeelong.com

The website, which claims to be not for profit, was created in February 2014 and is registered to Crazy Domains. A staff member for Crazy Domains told BuzzFeed News the owners bought the site under a private listing to remain anonymous and refused to release any information about them.

The conspiracy site covers topics from "Psychiatry: Science or Fraud?" to the "Geelong Council of Propaganda" and "The Sex Deception (A Young Man's Guide)", which encourages men to chose celibacy over becoming "manipulated" and "enslaved" by women.

There is also more anti-Semitic writing by Holocaust deniers who label the Nuremberg trials a "farce" and the gas chambers "nothing but a tall story of wartime", and claim deaths in concentration camps "were not the result of a German policy of 'extermination', but rather the results of epidemics of typhus and other diseases" caused by Allied aerial attacks.

There is no listed information about the person or people behind the website, but the author does claim the site is sometimes difficult to load because someone is trying to shut down the "authentic internet truth movement".

Alice Workman is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in Canberra.

Contact Alice Workman at alice.workman@buzzfeed.com.

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