Literature of the Holocaust
maintained by Al Filreis

Fired Historian Refutes Remark

Note: At the request of Christina Jeffrey, I add this link to Barry Friedman's account of the controversy covered in the 1995 newspaper article below.

Date: Tue, 10 Jan 95 10:10:22 PST

	WASHINGTON (AP) -- Fired by Speaker Newt Gingrich as House
historian because she complained Nazi views weren't represented in
a Holocaust course, Christina Jeffrey said Tuesday that allegations
against her ``are slanderous and outrageous.''
	In a statement the morning after her firing, Jeffrey, who was
hired less than a week ago, also said she was ``fired in the
	Reporters, who received materials from Democratic sources, began
making inquiries to Gingrich's office after learning of Jeffrey's
review of the Holocaust course in 1986.
	House Democrats quickly pounced on her eight-year-old review,
one saying it bordered on Holocaust revision.
	Gingrich, in a letter signed ``your friend Newt,'' said he
appreciated her ``willingness and eagerness'' to serve. ``However,
I do not feel that it would be prudent nor beneficial for you or
your family nor for the House of Representatives to continue your
employment at this time,'' he wrote.
	The letter, released Tuesday, was dated Monday and included a
time, 9:15 p.m.
	Jeffrey said in her written statement that she did not want to
be interviewed at this time but would ``write a review of this
matter for publication.''
	Jeffrey, hired at $85,000 a year, headed a panel that reviewed
the Holocaust course for the Republican-run U.S. Department of
Education. The panel recommended against a federal grant for the
course and the department -- insisting the decision was its own --
declined funding in 1986 and again the next two years.
	Concluding her remarks on 
``Facing History and Ourselves'' a
course designed for eighth and ninth graders, Jeffrey wrote: ``The
program gives no evidence of balance or objectivity. The Nazi point
of view, however unpopular, is still a point of view and is not
presented, nor is that of the Ku Klux Klan.''
	At the White House, presidential Press Secretary Mike McCurry
said it was ``hard to imagine how someone with those extreme views
would have been considered in the first place, but the speaker
quickly recognized that and made a decision that strikes us as
appropriate.'' He added that it was largely a House matter.
	A friend of Jeffrey and a fellow college professor defended her.
	Barry Friedman, professor of political science at North Georgia
College, said she doesn't harbor any anti-Semitic feelings.
	``It really bothers me because I am Jewish and the son of a
Holocaust survivor ... and these are grave accusations made against
someone who doesn't deserve them,'' he said. ``It's terribly
unreasonable ... I don't think she even got five minutes to give an
	Gingrich won quick praise from Abraham H. Foxman,
Anti-Defamation League national director, who wrote: ``I ...
commend you on your swift and decisive action ... The criticism she
expressed regarding the exclusion of Nazi and Ku Klux Klan views
from the Facing History and Ourselves Holocaust curriculum was
misguided and profoundly offensive.''
	In her written statement, Jeffrey said, ``I seem to have been
fired in the press'' -- a reference to inquiries by reporters Monday
about her review.
	``Let me say that the charges against me at slanderous and
outrageous. I have nothing to say at this time.''
	Gingrich and his staff said the congressman did not know about
Jeffrey's comments until Monday, although they were widely reported
in 1988.
	``As soon as he corroborated those facts, he asked for her
resignation, effective (Monday) evening,'' said Tony Blankley, a
spokesman for Gingrich.
	Nevertheless, the spokesman added, ``He still holds her in high
	This is the second time in recent weeks that Gingrich acted with
dispatch to cut his political losses. After controversy erupted
over his acceptance of a $4.5 million book advance, Gingrich
changed the deal so he would only receive a percentage of profits
on books actually sold.
	The controversy over Jeffrey, named by Gingrich to replace a
University of Maryland historian hired by Democrats, grew Monday as
the day wore on.
	Early in the afternoon, Reps. Patricia Schroeder, D-Colo., and
Albert Wynn, D-Md., criticized Jeffrey's views that most campaign
finance disclosure laws should be eliminated. ``He (Gingrich) found
the only historian in America who prefers secrecy to revelation,''
Schroeder said.
	Later in the day, Democrats circulated the 1988 clippings,
including the Holocaust quotes from Christina Price -- Jeffrey's
name at the time.
	After learning of Jeffrey's background, Democrats stepped up the
	Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif. said that Gingrich ``appointed
someone to be House historian who ... decided the views of Nazis
and the Ku Klux Klan should be taught to school children.''
	Shortly afterward, the new historian was gone.
	Questioned on her review in 1988, Jeffrey said at the time, ``I
have not got an anti-Semitic bone in my body.''
	Blankley said he spoke to her about the review shortly before
Gingrich fired her.
	``She indicated she was asked to assess the project for
balance,'' Blankley said. ``She made a flip comment that you have
to include the Nazi point of view as a way of pointing out you
couldn't have balance in a Holocaust story. She said she and 14
others (on the panel) thought (the course) wasn't good history.''
	The course was taught to thousands of students without the
federal funding.
	Now on leave from Kennesaw State College, Jeffrey is a supporter
of the controversial college course Gingrich teaches, ``Renewing
American Civilization.''

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http://writing.upenn.edu/~afilreis/Holocaust/historian-fired.html - - - Last modified: Wednesday, 21-Mar-2012 19:39:47 EDT