A Vancouver resident who expresses admiration for Adolf Hitler and the Nazis on YouTube says he’s been “fired” by Capilano University as a continuing-education instructor.
Brian Ruhe taught courses on “Mindfulness Meditation for Stress Reduction” and “Buddhist Philosophy and Vipassana Meditation” at the North Vancouver campus as recently as February.
In an August 9 video, Ruhe tells free-speech activist Paul Fromm—identified as a Canadian white supremacist by the Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Center—that he was informed in July that Capilano wouldn’t be renewing his contract and that complaints about his YouTube videos were the reason.
According to Ruhe, his controversial views on the Third Reich and the Holocaust aren’t part of his Buddhist meditation classes, so the college is trampling on his right to free expression in addition to harming his livelihood.
“They acknowledged that I never discuss any of my views on truth searching or truth activism in the class,” Ruhe told the Georgia Straight by phone from his home. “Like Paul Fromm stated, this is something I do on my own time outside of the class, expressing my free speech on YouTube. I get fired for that reason. So that’s what’s really unethical about it.”
A Capilano University representative declined to comment on “personnel matters”.
Many people would consider Ruhe’s interpretation of history and current affairs to be deeply disturbing and offensive.
On his personal website, Ruhe states: “My particular interests now are, abusive Jewish power in the world and the revisionist history of World War II. The single biggest surprise of my entire life is that Adolf Hitler was not the person we have been told about.”
One of Ruhe’s videos shows him at this year’s Vancouver Pride parade. After Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau walks by, Ruhe makes this bizarre comment: “So the reason why there’s a gay Pride parade is because of a Jewish supremacist conspiracy. This is one of a thousand and one ways that Jewish power uses to divide white, Christian society.”
In a video called “Zionist Lies about World War II History”, Ruhe describes Hitler as “reasonable” and “one of the greatest statesmen of our age”. Another video sees Ruhe call the Holocaust a “hoax”.
Other videos posted by Ruhe are titled “Adolf Hitler is Becoming More Mainstream”, “Puppy Dogs Today for Adolf Hitler”, “UFO Energy Secrets Suppressed by Jewish Power”, and “Developing an Adolf Hitler Religion”.
On the phone, Ruhe said he doesn’t identify as a neo-Nazi, racist, white nationalist, or white supremacist, but rather as a “truth seeker” who has Jewish friends. He mentioned that he’s the organizer of the 500-member UFO and Conspiracy Meetup group in Vancouver.
Nevertheless, Ruhe noted that he believes “Jewish supremacist forces” control the U.S. government, media, and banks.
“National Socialist [Nazi] Germany should have been just allowed to grow and evolve on its own,” Ruhe said. “They were basically just uniting the German people. I think they didn’t want to have a war. So I think it would have been better if National Socialist Germany was not destroyed.”
On its website, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance cites the following definition of the Holocaust: “Under the cover of the Second World War, for the sake of their ‘new order,’ the Nazis sought to destroy all the Jews of Europe. For the first time in history, industrial methods were used for the mass extermination of a whole people. Six million were murdered, including 1,500,000 children. This event is called the Holocaust.
“The Nazis enslaved and murdered millions of others as well. Gypsies, people with physical and mental disabilities, Poles, Soviet prisoners of war, trade unionists, political opponents, prisoners of conscience, homosexuals, and others were killed in vast numbers.”
Ruhe said that his Buddhist meditation classes were also recently discontinued by the Burnaby school district and Vancouver’s West End Community Centre.
He noted that he offered his classes through the Vancouver school board’s continuing education program for years.
Ruhe’s classes are listed in the fall 2015 program guides of Vancouver’s False Creek Community Centre, Killarney Community Centre, and Roundhouse Community Arts and Recreation Centre.
“Learn the Buddhist law of karma and the mystery of death and dying, Find out what happens after death and the process of rebirth. Attendees enjoy the discussions and have said that it is hard to find these vital teachings, which include the best scientific evidence for previous lives,” reads the description for “Karma, Death, and Rebirth in Buddhism” at False Creek.
According to Ruhe’s site, he’s the secretary of the Truth and Justice for Germans Society. The society’s constitution says one of its purposes is to “challenge through civil discourse and by all legal means, with available historical facts and evidence, any published (or broadcast) material containing false, misleading or biased portrayals of the German people, and of historical events concerning them or their history and culture, which cause harm to their reputation and honour, and may lead to undue feelings of shame, guilt, self-hatred and depression, as well as, discrimination against Germans individually or as an ethnic group”.
In an info card, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance describes Holocaust denial as “discourse and propaganda that deny the historical reality and the extent of the extermination of the Jews by the Nazis and their accomplices during World War II”.
“Holocaust denial may include publicly denying or calling into doubt the use of principal mechanisms of destruction (such as gas chambers, mass shooting, starvation and torture) or the intentionality of the genocide of the Jewish people,” the info card states.
“Holocaust denial in its various forms is an expression of antisemitism. The attempt to deny the genocide of the Jews is an effort to exonerate National Socialism and antisemitism from guilt or responsibility in the genocide of the Jewish people. Forms of Holocaust denial also include blaming the Jews for either exaggerating or creating the Shoah for political or financial gain as if the Shoah itself was the result of a conspiracy plotted by the Jews. In this, the goal is to make the Jews culpable and antisemitism once again legitimate. The goals of Holocaust denial often are the rehabilitation of an explicit antisemitism and the promotion of political ideologies and conditions suitable for the advent of the very type of event it denies.”
Locally, the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre works to "promote human rights, social justice and genocide awareness and to teach about the causes and consequences of discrimination, racism and antisemitism through education and remembrance of the Holocaust". The VHEC is open to visitors Monday to Friday, with the exception of holidays.