P.S. I Hate You

Her great-grandparents died in the Holocaust. But Sara Salzman knows that anti-Semitism lives on -- on the Web.

Cases like these give Salzman hope, especially since the threats against her have intensified to the point where she is finally getting some interest -- although slight -- from law enforcement.

The most recent series of threats began on July 14, when someone calling himself Rabbi Brimstone posted a message titled "The Dead Pool" to alt.revisionism. The message listed seventeen people, including Salzman, McVay and hatewatch.org's Goldman, along with the following note: "The rules are simple, email me your choice of which of the following people are going to die first. If your choice wins, you win!!! You can also write in votes if you like....Please don't do anything illegal in order to win the game." The message gives a Web site where the Nizkor members' addresses can be found and ends with the statement: "Remember there is nothing illegal about wishing someone to die. Remember to cast your vote!!!!!"

On July 24, eight messages were posted to alt.revisionism calling for Salzman's death. One read "Sara Salzman must die." Another read "Someone kill Sara Salzman."

Sara Salzman has seen the ugly side of the Internet.
Anthony Camera
Sara Salzman has seen the ugly side of the Internet.

On July 26, someone anonymously sent Salzman an e-mail message with this subject heading: "You deserve what is coming to you." The message contained the words "I hope you die" repeated more than a hundred times.

Since then, Salzman has contacted FBI agent Tom Cramer and Arapahoe County sheriff's investigator James Osborn. This time, she said, both investigators seemed interested in helping her.

FBI Special Agent Jane Quimby says that her agency is reviewing Salzman's case and that it may investigate and eventually hand it over to the U.S. Attorney's Office. According to the federal statute on interstate communication, there must be a specific threat in order for federal prosecutors to get involved, Quimby says. "It's not enough to say, 'I hope [Bob] dies' or 'I hope someone kills [Bob].' It has to be 'I will kill you.'"

Until someone decides to help her, though, Salzman says she will not back down. In her biography on the Nizkor Project Web site, she says she has dedicated her work to the people of Stolin, and she's received e-mails from Holocaust survivors around the world, including a Russian professor who has decided to move back to Stolin (which is now part of Belarus, not Poland) with forty other families. They plan to build a synagogue there and re-establish Stolin's Jewish community, which was wiped out entirely by the Holocaust.

"That's the upside of the Internet," she says.

"But I've learned that there's a downside, too. The Holocaust deniers have as much a right as I do to speak publicly, but they do not have the right to abuse the First Amendment. I'm not going to let some neo-Nazi shut me up. I can show you that pit in Poland where my ancestors reside. I'm not going to let that happen to me."

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