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national president of the Association
of University Staff, Bill Rosenberg,
said yesterday that he had taken calls
from academics around the country
worried about the
Tuesday, July 22, 2003
scholar at heart of 'book burning' row
"book burning" scandal has erupted at Canterbury
University over an article on controversial
Holocaust scholar Joel Hayward.
THE decision to recall and
destroy copies of the history department's journal
History Now - and dump editor Ian
Campbell - is dividing the academic
Canterbury lecturer Thomas Fudge, who
wrote the offending article, has resigned in
disgust and plans to leave at the end of the
Dr Fudge said he could not remain at a
university that suppressed academic freedom.
"It made me a hypocrite trying to teach my
students to think critically and ask the tough
questions - all of the academic values that
universities are about - and here my department was
saying, effectively, we're going to burn
article revisits the storm that surrounded the 1993
masters thesis of former Canterbury student Joel
Hayward, which questioned the validity of Holocaust
Dr Fudge, who lectures on
medieval religious dissent and
witch-hunting, explored what for Dr Hayward
(right) became a career-ending
He revealed in the article that Dr Hayward had
been harassed and received death threats against
Dr Hayward suffered an
emotional breakdown and left his teaching post
at Massey University in June last year. He now
cannot get a job.
The Fate of Jews
in German Hands: From Holocaust
Historian to Holocaust? played on the title of
his thesis, The Fate of Jews in German
The article appeared on May 6. Next morning,
Professor Campbell was asked to appear before his
editorial committee and history department head
Professor Campbell said he was effectively
pushed: "The fact is that board disapproved of my
editorial decision and, as a result, I couldn't
continue as editor."
An embargo was slapped on the journal and 500
Staff were later advised that copies of the
offending journal had been destroyed on the
authority of Professor Hempenstall.
Another May edition of History Now was
printed without the Fudge article and an editorial
discussing truth and martyrdom.
On May 14, Dr Fudge defended his article at a
special meeting of history department academics,
calling the censorship "unconscionable".
Last week, he confirmed to his students that he
Professor Hempenstall declined to speak, saying
the matter had now become an employment issue
between the university and Dr Fudge.
Wednesday, July 23, 2003
feared libel suit
CANTERBURY University staff who
destroyed copies of a journal containing an article
on controversial Holocaust scholar Joel
Hayward say they did it because of potential
defamation and possible inaccuracies.
The so-called "book burning" scandal has left
the university in uproar and academics throughout
the country concerned that the censorship of the
university publication breached academic
The article by Canterbury University historian
Dr Thomas Fudge in the May issue of
History Now examined Dr Hayward's treatment
over his 1993 masters thesis, which questioned the
validity of Holocaust history.
Canterbury University vice-chancellor Professor
Roy Sharp said yesterday that the majority
of history department staff had agreed that the
article, in its then form, should not be
He cited possible inaccuracies and misleading
statements that no one had been given a chance to
check, the use of internal history department
documents without clearance, and the naming of
specific individuals and businesses which could
expose the university to legal action.
Professor Sharp and
history department head Professor Peter
Hempenstall said while a university should not
prevent an academic publishing controversial or
unpopular opinions, it was not obliged to
publish such an article itself.
There had been no attempt to stop publication
elsewhere. "Indeed, Dr Fudge was offered
suggestions as to other media in which he could
In the article, Dr Fudge asked if Dr Hayward had
been the victim of a modern-day witch-hunt. He
stressed academic freedom and said it was the duty
of universities to challenge conventional
Dr Fudge argued that while there was nothing
redemptive about the Holocaust, nor was there any
redemptive value in the "pursuit of Joel Hayward
along a journey from holocaust historian to the
fate of personal holocaust".
Dr Fudge said that in early 2001 Dr Hayward had
received obscene and disturbing phonecalls with
death threats directed at his children.
Outraged by the censorship, Dr Fudge resigned in
protest and the journal's editor, Associate
Professor Ian Campbell, walked away from the
editorship as a result of disapproval over his
running the piece.
The national president
of the Association of University Staff, Bill
Rosenberg, said yesterday that he had taken
calls from academics around the country worried
about the censorship.
Dr Rosenberg said the association strongly
defended the right to academic freedom. It would
want to ensure Dr Fudge had been treated fairly and
due process was followed.
Dr Rosenberg said it was possible the
university's actions were in breach of statutory
rights to academic freedom under the Education Act
An associate law professor at Auckland
University, Paul Rishworth, said it was not
possible to say the decision to recall and destroy
the journal was a violation of Dr Fudge's right to
freedom of expression.
"Academic journals are not open forums. No one
has a right to have their contribution
Professor Rishworth said this was not to say
that the committee offended no legal rights, nor to
say it had acted well, or wisely, either in
relation to the editor or to the author of the
The director of the New Zealand universities
academic audit unit, John Jennings, agreed
it was the right of any publisher to publish what
it wanted. From what he had read of Dr Fudge's
article it seemed well considered, but he doubted
whether its censorship in an in-house journal
amounted to an attack on academic freedom.The key
- Associate Professor Ian Campbell - teaches
world history, Pacific history and the
philosophy of history at the University of
Canterbury. Was the editor of History Now.
- Dr Thomas Fudge - a specialist on medieval
and reformation Europe with research interests
in iconography and European witchcraft in the
period 1100-1700 and the social implications of
- Professor Peter Hempenstall, head of the
history department, a Pacific historian who also
takes an honours course in biographical
The story so far ...
New Zealand Herald
- 1991: History postgraduate student Joel
Hayward, aged in his late 20s, begins to write a
master's thesis which questions the extent of
- 1993: The 360-page thesis entitled The
Fate of Jews in German Hands is completed.
Described as an historiography of Holocaust
revision it questioned the use of gas chambers,
claimed far fewer than six million Jews died,
and found no direct evidence of plans to carry
out mass murder. The thesis is embargoed for
three years, later extended to six years.
- 1994: Canterbury University awards Hayward a
first-class honours pass, which was concurred by
an external examiner at Waikato University.
Hayward later withdraws his main conclusions but
the thesis is meanwhile praised by controversial
Holocaust "revisionist" historian David
- 1996: Hayward appointed to Massey University
as a senior lecturer in defence and strategic
- 1999: Hayward asks Canterbury University to
withdraw his thesis from its library, but is
refused. He is allowed to write an
- Early 2000: Waikato University Professor
Dov Bing reviews the thesis for the NZ
Jewish Chronicle and Hayward faces a strong
- April 2000: New Zealand Jewish Council
condemns Canterbury University for condoning the
publication of the thesis and refusal to
withdraw it from its library.
- December 2000: An independent inquiry headed
by retired judge Sir Ian Barker finds
Hayward's thesis was faulty and its conclusion
unjustified. The university vice-chancellor,
Daryl Le Grew, apologises to the Jewish
- June 2002: Hayward resigns from Massey
University to recover from a nervous breakdown
caused by the stress from the publicity and
death threats to him and his family. Has since
worked as a freelance historical writer, having
published books including his most recent - a
thematic study on Vice-Admiral Horatio
Nelson called For God and Glory.
This story also featured as a major article in
The Christchurch Press Nedw Zealand on
Tuesday July 22, 2003 on pages A1 (i.e. the front
page), A3 and A9.
Our dossier on the Joel
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
Fate of Joel Hayward in New Zealand Hands: From
Holocaust Historian to Holocaust? Part I |