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Friday, August 8, 2003
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Friday, August 8, 2003
when denial starts
month the 'Herald' printed an article by
historian Thomas Fudge criticising the treatment
of Joel Hayward, whose MA thesis brought
accusations of Holocaust denial. The New Zealand
Jewish Council offers this response, written by
political scientist DOV
note: Professor Dov Bing gained his BSocSc from
the Hebrew University, Jerusalem, and his MA and
PhD from the University of
IN a democracy, academic freedom
is a precious commodity. Protected by the 1989
Education Act, it cannot exist in New Zealand
universities without matching responsibilities.
Dr Thomas Fudge, in his article
on Dr Hayward's Holocaust denial thesis,
has fallen well short of academic responsibility,
not only by incorrectly representing Hayward's
thesis conclusions but by failing to distinguish
between Holocaust revisionism and Holocaust
Revisionism is an honest endeavour undertaken by
many academic historians. Each year there are
thousands of new publications on Holocaust history.
Many of these can be termed academic Holocaust
Holocaust denial is not
history at all. Although Holocaust deniers may
often deceptively refer to themselves as
revisionists, they cannot be regarded as
professional academic historians.
Finding against David Irving in his
for libel against historian Deborah
Lipstadt (April 2000), Mr Justice
a clear and compelling definition of Holocaust
denial (see box).
In his report on the
Hayward thesis, undertaken for the University of
Canterbury in 2000, Sir Ian Barker also
concludes that Holocaust deniers are polemicists
with an antipathy to the status of the Holocaust as
a unique and defining
phenomenon of the modern era.
Many are anti-Semites with links to racist and
extremist politics, observes the Barker report.
According to Winston Smith, leader of the
National Socialist White Peoples Party - formerly
known as the American Nazi Party - the real purpose
of Holocaust revisionism (or denial) is to make
National Socialism an acceptable alternative
If they can make people believe that the main
features of the Holocaust are based on Allied war
propaganda, the Nazis can rise again.
Deniers operate on the fringes of society and
have been trying for many years to gain a foothold
in universities to make themselves respectable.
Canterbury University is the only Western
university that has awarded an MA to a Holocaust
denial thesis. [Website
comment: See the Henri
Rocques case too]
defending Joel Hayward (right), Dr Fudge
prefers to ignore the extent to which careful,
of Holocaust denial apply
to Hayward's MA thesis, the flawed methodology
referred to in the Barker report, and Hayward's
failure to consider the dangerous implications
of Holocaust denial's pseudo-academic facade, as
noted in the Barker Report.
If Holocaust denial has demonstrated anything,
it is the fragility of memory, reason and history.
Deniers try to project the appearance of being
committed to the values they, in truth, adamantly
oppose - reason, critical rules of evidence and
Fudge further muddies the waters of academic
credibility by rewriting what he calls Hayward's
three principal conclusions.
- He supposes that Hayward's first conclusion
states that "there is no unimpeachable evidence
that Adolf Hitler ordered the physical
extermination of Jews".
- Second, he suggests that Hayward concluded
that "it was impossible to know how many Jews
were killed", and
- thirdly that Hayward concluded that
"gas-chambers were not used systematically to
However, Hayward's thesis offers no concluding
claim about Hitler's knowledge of the murder of the
Jews. This has been added by Fudge.
Hayward does mention this issue in his chapter
on David Irving, but did not consider Irving's
hobby horse as a major issue to be included in
Fudge also rewrites the so-called second
conclusion. He claims that Hayward agrees that
"millions of Jews" perished. That is not correct.
Hayward mentions "more than one million and far
less than the symbolic figure of six million".
In the Sunday Star-Times, Hayward
clarified this statement and indicated that he
meant "more than one or two million". Fudge's
quotation of the figure of "millions" comes from
the addendum to the MA thesis, but Hayward
published this revision in December 1999, eight
years after writing the thesis.
Fudge adds his own reference
to S. Krakowski of Yad Vashem in Jerusalem
who, he claims, suggested that 20,000 testimonies
of alleged Holocaust survivors were untrustworthy.
This is not in the conclusion of Hayward's
For his claim, Fudge cites as his source
Barbara Amouyal, writing in the Jerusalem
Post (August 17, 1986). He omits Krakowski's
reply a few days later, when he wrote that he was
deeply astonished to read Amouyal's version of her
interview with him.
Krakowski had indicated that many of the 20,000
testimonies were used in criminal trials. He noted
that he had told Amouyal that fortunately very few
testimonies proved to be inaccurate (Jerusalem
Post, August 21-22, 1986).
Fudge claims that Hayward "merely questioned
other suggested figures and was denounced for
That is not correct. Hayward suggested that one
or two million Jews perished in the Holocaust,
rather than about six million.
He was criticised
because of his academically unsound reiteration
of this archetypal Holocaust deniers argument,
without producing research on the topic.
In retrospect, Hayward clearly regrets this
irresponsible claim, and made his revised views
According to Fudge, Hayward's third conclusion
was that "gas chambers were not used
systematically" and that because he simply
questioned "the extent of the use of ... gas
chambers he was labelled a holocaust denier".
Further minimising Hayward's claims, Fudge
asserts that Hayward "wondered merely what
contribution gas chambers made" to the total Jewish
victims of the Holocaust.
In his conclusion, Hayward states that "the
gassing claim is irreconcilable with the
overwhelming weight of evidence on the nature of
official Nazi policy on the Jewish question.
"That policy, our careful and unbiased reading
of the evidence suggested, was not one of total
extermination, but was a brutal policy of
deportation and forced labour".
Hayward states that "the weight of evidence
supports the view that the Nazis did not
systematically exterminate Jews in gas chambers or
have extermination policies as such".
Sir Ian Barker, Professor Macintyre and
Professor Trotter noted in their report:
"This is a perverse and unjustified
Fudge characterises Hayward as a scapegoat. To
some extent this is true, but only because the
faults of his thesis ought to have been more
publicly owned by his supervisors and the
department that awarded it an
Hayward is also
characterised in Fudge's article as the victim
of a plot against him. This is simplistic and
unjustified. Hayward is the victim of his own
naivety at best, and also university failings.
Hayward decided to embargo the thesis for nearly
six years, yet during that time gave copies of it
to known Holocaust deniers.
The Canterbury University history department
decided not to publish the Fudge article in its
journal History Now because of "possible
inaccuracies and misleading statements" in it.
The refusal of the majority of the history
department to grant Fudge's article the stamp of
academic credibility was, in my opinion, a step in
the right direction.
The terms of the Education Act alone should
prevent a university department endorsing and
The publication of the
article in History Now would also have
undercut the apology Canterbury University made
to the New Zealand Jewish Council "for the hurt
that may have been suffered by Jewish people as
a result of the award of the MA degree for the
Fudge was determined to publish his article, and
made much of his academic freedom and the right of
the public to be informed.
While these rights are unquestionable, in
exercising them, Dr Fudge should explain his
acceptance of Hayward keeping his MA thesis under
lock and key for nearly six years.
Did not the New Zealand public have the right to
know what was in that thesis? Was not this also an
issue of academic freedom?
New Zealand Herald is right to campaign for
freedom of expression - it is guaranteed under the
NZ Bill of Rights, but entails constant
The Herald observes that "conclusions [by
academics] cannot be mere flights of
imagination; they must be based on all available
evidence and rigorous reasoning".
I could not agree more, and argue that Dr Fudge,
like Dr Hayward, has indeed fallen short.
Our dossier on the Joel
July 2003: Profile in NZ Sunday Star
threats and breakdowns - the Holocaust thesis
destroyed my life"
Report of the Working
Party established by University of Canterbury to
Inquire into Hayward Case | summary
at heart of 'book burning' row | 'Book-burners'
feared libel suit
Joel Hayward thesis: 'The
Fate of Jews in German Hands' (zip
Fate of Joel Hayward in New Zealand Hands: From
Holocaust Historian to Holocaust? Part I |
ruined my life says historian
David Cohen in NZ National Business
Review scoffs at fears of backlash against
the Jews over the Hayward Case: "Media
watch: Open minds, empty minds and the