January 10, 1995 in Nation/World

Gingrich Fires Historian Over Nazi Remark Professor Leaves Amid Charges Of Anti-Semitism

Washington Post
 

House Speaker Newt Gingrich, R-Ga., Monday night fired his choice as House historian after learning of her 1986 criticism of a junior high school Holocaust curriculum that she said did not adequately reflect what she called “the Nazi point of view.”

Gingrich’s spokesman Tony Blankley said that the speaker determined that Christina Jeffrey was not the right person for the job immediately, “as soon as he found out” about her views on the Holocaust curriculum.

Jeffrey is an assistant professor at Kennesaw State College in Marietta, Ga.

Rep. Charles E. Schumer, D-N.Y., earlier in the day called the appointment of Jeffrey “an affront to my constituents who survived the Holocaust … and millions of Americans” and called on Gingrich to dismiss her.

Blankley said Gingrich, who once taught at Kennesaw State with Jeffrey, was not aware of the comments when he offered her the job last month. He was briefed on them Monday afternoon.

Jeffrey’s review prompted a congressional hearing and charges of anti-Semitism when it became public in 1988.

Jeffrey, 47, did not return phone messages left at her Capitol Hill office and home Monday night. She took an unpaid leave of absence from Kennesaw State College in Gingrich’s district to take the $85,000-a-year job.

Even before Schumer’s call for her ouster, Jeffrey came under fire from other House Democrats, who said she was an inappropriate choice to replace Raymond W. Smock, a former University of Maryland professor who had served in the post since its creation in 1983. Gingrich dismissed Smock and his staff of four last month and said the office “is going to be much more aggressively run on a bipartisan basis to reach out to others.”

In 1993, Jeffrey defended the right of Gingrich, a former history professor, to teach a course on American civilization at Kennesaw State, a course that a state board ultimately banned from campus. Last fall, she defended Gingrich’s right to keep secret contributors to GOPAC, his political action committee.

xxxx OFFENDING REMARK In recommending that the proposed program for eighth- and ninth-graders be denied funding, Christina Jeffrey wrote that it “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.”


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