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Wednesday, July 23, 2003
Fudge's suppressed article is published:
history and free
University history lecturer Thomas Fudge
concludes his essay, which the university History
Department refused to publish, on the fallout from
Joel Hayward's controversial thesis on the
IN DECEMBER 2000, the working party established
by the University of Canterbury to investigate the
Hayward thesis released its report.
Totalling 296 pages, including supporting
material, this report was received by the
administration, adopted by the university council
on December 18 and no public contest was offered to
However, the report was not accepted
unanimously. Several senior Canterbury University
historians took the view that their institution had
been far too apologetic.
Vincent Orange, Hayward's thesis
supervisor, contested a great deal in the report,
as did Professor John Jensen of Waikato
In February 2001, the History Department at
Canterbury took the report under consideration and
concluded its deliberations by affirming that it
supported the broad thrust of the recommendations
of the inquiry.
The vote was overwhelmingly in favour of this
ambivalent motion but not unanimous. Three members
of the department (besides Orange) put forward
arguments in opposition to the report and to the
nature of the inquiry.
One member of the department insisted on being
named in the minutes of the meeting as opposing
both the report and the departmental support for
Among those who supported the motion were some
who admitted having read
neither the report nor the thesis. One
senior member argued that the department should not
be seen as being in opposition to the
Vincent Orange, who absented himself from the
February meeting, submitted to the department a
dossier of 31 documents, titled A Case for the
Defence of Dr Joel Hayward. The dossier
included submissions from academics who had read
Hayward's thesis, documents presenting another side
of the matter and related material.
This material had been submitted to the working
party but appeared to have had no significant
influence on the ultimate report.
The dossier was prepared for three reasons:
- For consideration by the working party.
- That it might be attached to the working
party report as an extended appendix (to provide
- That it might be placed in the university
library, where scholars or students in the
future considering this matter might have access
to both sides of the story.
The working party report did not respond to the
contents of the dossier. Efforts to have the
dossier appended to the report itself were
unsuccessful, and the other objectives were not
WHY was this body of material not made more widely
available to those actively involved or interested
in the Hayward affair?
Vincent Orange or other members of the History
Department opposing the submissions of the New
Zealand Jewish Council could very well have
distributed the dossier on their own. The apparent
reason is repeated requests by university officials
that no comment be made to the media and that the
university administration be responsible for
comment on the Hayward affair.
That administration, though aware of the
dossier, elected not to publicise it. For this
reason, the public has not been able to form a
balanced judgment informed by testimony on both
Barker committee [working party] relied
heavily on a report by Cambridge University
J. Evans, who was engaged by the Jewish
Council to provide comment on Hayward's thesis.
The Jewish Council originally presented a
14-page submission to the working party which
summarised their concerns and specified their
wishes about the inquiry.
It submitted that the thesis was dishonest, the
award of Hayward's MA should be revoked, and all
University of Canterbury endorsement of Hayward's
work towards the MA be withdrawn, and by
implication that the Hayward thesis be removed from
the university library.
Fresh from his very public victory over David
Irving in a high-profile London court case in
April 2000, wherein Irving was found to have
falsified historical evidence, Evans submitted a
71-page report trenchantly condemning the
Professor Gerald Orchard, one of New
Zealand's most highly regarded lawyers, in turn
denounced this report to the working party as
adversarial, not objective
and could not be relied on.
The working party
acknowledged that Evans appeared to diminish the
objectivity required of an expert witness,
submitted unwarranted allegations, and was
The committee professed to have made every
effort to discount Professor Evans' tendency to
intemperate expression but accepted the report as
authoritative and seems not to have been influenced
markedly by the sustained responses to Evans'
report in the dossier for the defence.
But faced with the profound disagreement on the
merits of Hayward's thesis between its official
examiners (Orange and Jensen) and Evans, the
working party had received legal counsel that
preference for one perspective over the other was a
question for appropriate expert historians.
No appropriate expert historians were
approached. Why, on such a critical point supported
by legal advice, did the working party not take
Vincent Orange and Joel Hayward made a strategic
error in not also contracting an expert on
Holocaust historiography to review the thesis and
submit a report. This apparently did not occur to
them at the time and the faux pas proved costly and
monumental in its eventual implications.
THE willingness of the working party to accept a
partisan opinion commissioned by an interested
caucus is curious and places the inquiry itself in
a troubling light.
Notwithstanding the working party's remarks on
Evans' language and lack of objectivity, he
appeared both to the Jewish Council and the working
party as a witness otherwise above reproach.
Evans' report makes no reference to extenuating
circumstances, qualifications about the nature of
Hayward's preliminary research exercise go unnoted,
and Hayward is treated as though the thesis in
question was the culminating work of a long career
rather than an inaugural effort.
The working party's report satisfied neither of
the protagonists. It appears to have been intended
to soothe by offering a compromise solution.
It agreed with the Jewish Council and Richard
Evans that there were serious flaws in the thesis,
but not that it was either dishonest or fraudulent,
or that it was unworthy of being awarded a master's
It also disagreed that Hayward's degree should
be withdrawn or that the thesis should be removed
from library collections.
On the other hand, the report was not the
exoneration of the thesis that Hayward and Orange
had hoped for, and the university's examination
procedures were severely criticised.
Consequently, both parties were embittered;
neither could claim victory, and indeed, everyone
seemed discredited by the whole affair.
The academics felt betrayed and the Jewish
Council felt that its cause had been
The official Jewish view was that the outcome of
the inquiry was unacceptable. [Council
president] David Zwartz told a
newspaper: "We must take it further".
However, the University of Canterbury was
unprepared to invest further time or financial
resources on the Hayward affair, which it
Since the university clearly was not going to
revoke Hayward's degree, excoriate him any further,
censure the thesis supervisor or keep the matter at
the forefront, one might have expected that the
affair had run its course.
HAYWARD continued with his duties at Massey
University and press releases seemed to indicate
that his tenure was secure and the university had
no intention of withdrawing support. The affair was
closed at last.
But it did not end. There were people whose
passions had evidently been aroused by the affair
and the extensive publicity it had received, and
these people had recourse to informal and sinister
methods of expressing their anger.
In early 2001, Hayward began to receive even
more vitriolic hate mail, along with obscene and
disturbing telephone calls. More than a year after
the working party's report became public, Hayward
received death threats directed at his
occasionally to issue apologies for any
unintended consequences created by his MA work
and tried to get on with his life and career.
Feeling ridiculed and harassed, and believing
that even among his colleagues at Massey sentiment
had turned against him, Hayward suffered an
emotional breakdown. He spent more than two years
under medical care.
More than that, he became disenchanted with the
world of higher education. He no longer believed
universities (at least in New Zealand) were places
for the free exchange of ideas. He had come to
regard the exalted virtue of academic freedom as an
illusion sold out to considerations of
He became convinced that the ideals taught by
his professors and lecturers at Canterbury were
In brief, he no longer wished to be an academic.
He regarded higher education as irreparably soiled
by indifference and moral cowardice.
In December 2001, in deep depression, Hayward
tendered his resignation from Massey University
effective in June 2002. Massey appears to have made
no effort to assess Hayward's condition or provide
support of the kind usually available to distressed
With Hayward out of Massey and his academic
career at an end, was the affair now truly over and
Efforts were made to link another Canterbury
thesis to Holocaust denial and to Hayward but came
to naught. For Hayward, though, there was more to
Early last December, he
was informed by HarperCollins, a major
international publisher, through their Auckland
office, that they wished to withdraw from
publishing a book of which Hayward was
The book, a collection of essays about New
Zealand airmen, was fully prepared and ready for
Hayward was shocked at the news and pressed for
- HarperCollins was reluctant to explain their
- Nor is that company alone in shunning
Hayward. People fear being seen in a cafeteria
- Others are afraid that emails might be
monitored and association with him might have
serious consequences for their own careers.
Some former associates suspect their own work
has been scoured for traces of heretical thinking
about topics on which freedom of thought and
independence of expression are unwelcome.
Shortly after the HarperCollins shock, Hayward
was hired by dairy company Fonterra as
communications co-ordinator with responsibilities
for writing internal communications, information
and training documents. But the
company decided, on the day
he began, to terminate the position.
Why won't the Hayward affair come to an end?
Apologies have availed nothing. Resignation has
been for naught. Passivity has been
Do the alleged (but contested) deficiencies of
the thesis justify the chain of events, from the
unauthorised copying of a thesis, to a highly
publicised but not public inquiry, to nationwide
ridicule and humiliation, personal threats,
isolation and termination of a career?
What good was it thought was being served?
Relatively early in the story, some senior
academics wanted to know why the issue was pursued,
and called for an inquiry into the motives for such
On the most recent
publicity, one opinion was blunt: There seems to
be a determination both to break Joel's career
and to silence inquiry into the facts of the
On the latter, the implications are precipitous.
Dogmatic emphasis on the Holocaust only reinforces
and legitimises closed-mindedness, unrealistic
foreign policies and barbaric behaviour.
What specifically constitutes denial of the
Holocaust? Is it as simple as questioning whether
fewer than 6 million Jews died? Questioning
testimonies of survivors? Alleging that countries
other than Germany committed war crimes? Denying
that Jewish suffering during World War II was
Is it anti-Semitic to try to remove the element
of sacred myth from 1940s Jewish history? Is it
really so intolerable to deny that the Holocaust
transcends history; that it is the ultimate event
or the ultimate mystery?
Is it truly obligatory to acquiesce in the view
that any survivor has more to say than all the
historians combined about what happened?
The shackles of a new orthodoxy suggest
universities cannot allow certain assumptions to
bear the weight of inquiry.
There is nothing redemptive about the Holocaust
and arguably less redemptive value in the pursuit
of Joel Hayward along a journey from Holocaust
historian to the fate of personal holocaust.
* Yesterday: The
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
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 |