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The Christchurch Press

Christchurch, New Zealand, July 29, 2003



Sir--As a foundation subscriber to History Now, and having carefully read Thomas Fudge's article in The Press, I agree with the University of Canterbury that the two don't go together.

The purpose of History Now and its predecessor has always been to keep non-university readers in touch with what is going on in historical writing. Fudge's article is not historical writing.

Fudge correctly evaluates academic freedom. So far, so good. But then he drifts off into vague insinuations about his colleagues, and gives a tendentious account of Joel Hayward's emotional breakdown, and then speculates about witch-hunts. A historical journal is not the place for such writing.

Fudge suggests that Joel Hayward has been martyred for daring to challenge the so-called "Holocaust industry". Hayward was not daring. His, in my opinion, shoddy thesis was embargoed in secret for six years while he got the academic benefit of it. Now he is hoist with his petard.

Redcliffs, July 26

The Christchurch Press, Aug. 9, 2003


Sir--In reply to Vincent Orange (August 1), I have two reasons for saying that I believe Joel Hayward's Holocaust thesis was shoddy.

First, the essential purpose of a thesis (Greek "proposition") has traditionally been to present a proposition well founded on the available evidence. Hayward's thesis failed this elementary requirement.

In the words of the independent working party's audit, it was "seriously deficient".

Second, by lending credence to the notorious David Irving and other Holocaust revisionists, the thesis brought the medieval smell of anti- semitism wafting into the University of Canterbury for the first time in living memory.

Hayward's action in sending copies to revisionists overseas, while the thesis was embargoed here, strengthened the suspicion of an ulterior purpose.

Hayward's thesis was thoroughly discredited in December 2000. That it is still being praised is a standing reproach to the ambivalence of the university authorities in allowing his first-class degree to stand.

Redcliffs, August 3

The Christchurch Press, Aug. 12, 2003


Sir-- Harry Evison (August 9) apparently doesn't want people to know that a student can ask honest questions about the Holocaust and arrive at unconventional answers, even if only in a masters thesis, while not being a racist, a neo-Nazi, or an extremist.

As a smoke-screen, Mr Evison even throws out a suggestion of wafts of anti-Semitism. Mr Evison ignores the Canterbury investigation's important conclusion that I was not motivated by any racism or malice, and that my research, while flawed, was also honest.

Not racist, not malicious, and I was honest. That's what the working party concluded.

I've written six books and scores of articles since I wrote my 1991 MA thesis. And in not one single place in the million words I've published have I repeated any so-called heresy.

So the choice becomes obvious: either I'm not a heretic and never was, or I'm the world's most uncommitted and unsuccessful heretic.

Palmerston North, August 10

Sir--May I invite readers who think that Harry Evison's assertions about Joel Hayward's thesis (August 9) have merit to ask the Canterbury history department to publish Thomas Fudge's article? That article offers another side to this sad saga. May I also invite them to read the thesis itself (in the university library).

They will find attached to it the working party report, but not the documented reply I made to that report. Why not?

Harry Evison himself is a historian and I'm sure he will agree that, in fairness to Hayward, the case for his defence deserves the same exposure to public scrutiny as the case against him.

Russley, August 10




Our dossier on the Joel Hayward case
Mrs Hayward writes: "Husband Joel Hayward, not Joel Holocaust"
July 2003, NZ Herald: "Holocaust thesis ruined my life says historian"
Report of the Working Party established by University of Canterbury to Inquire into Hayward Case | summary
Holocaust scholar at heart of 'book burning' row | 'Book-burners' feared libel suit
Joel Hayward thesis: 'The Fate of Jews in German Hands' (zip file)
The Fate of Joel Hayward in New Zealand Hands: From Holocaust Historian to Holocaust? Part I | Part II
Death threats and breakdowns - the Holocaust thesis destroyed my life
© Focal Point 2003 e-mail:  write to David Irving