From Kerry Bolton, Adelaide Institute Associate in New Zealand

Canterbury Tales
Ten years ago, Canterbury University passed a controversial
master's thesis that denied the Holocaust. The student has
long since apologised for the offence that it caused and
repudiated some of its content, but others at Canterbury are
unwilling to let the matter rest. This year, the controversy
was re-ignited when the university withdrew a history
department journal, a historian threatened to resign and the
original student re-entered the debate. Is Canterbury
University in the business of suppressing academic freedom?
Or is this issue really about academic standards? And why do
New Zealand academics allow themselves and their work to be
exploited by Holocaust deniers?

By Philip Matthews
The Listener,
20 September 2003

There is a question that, judging from the tone of his
response, no one had previously thought to put Canterbury
University historian Thomas Fudge. What is his opinion the
Joel Hayward master's thesis on which he seems to have
staked both his public and academic reputation? "My opinion
on the Hayward thesis?" he says. "I don't know that I've got
an opinion on the Hayward thesis."

Well, is the thesis correct or is it flawed? "I'm not in a
position to judge that, actually."
Because he is not a specialist in the area?" Yeah,yeah."
Its rightness or wrongness is not an issue? "No, it isn't.
And I'm not just trying to dodge the question. It is a
subject that is not within my scholarly purview. It would be
unfair of me to say that it's a good thesis or a bad

So, because his field of expertise is medieval and
reformation history, Fudge is unable to offer any judgement
on such Hayward claims as "The weight of evidence supports
the view that the Nazis did not systematically exterminate
Jews in gas chambers.  He can't even hazard a guess or offer
a hunch. But this seems to contradict his privately
circulated views of the thesis.

Last year, when the Listener investigated the ongoing
controversy of the Hayward thesis ("In denial", November 2,
2002), the thesis's supervisor and examiner, Canterbury
history professor Vincent Orange, broke his silence at the
eleventh hour to release a letter to the Listener. The
letter, written to former Canterbury University chancellor
Phyllis Guthardt in April 2001, describes the documents that
Orange had compiled in his and Hayward's defence when a
Canterbury University working party examined the thesis -
although Orange did not release the documents themselves.
Describing a letter from Fudge to Orange, written in April
2000 just as the Hayward thesis became a national story,
Orange writes, "His [Fudge's] warm approval of the thesis
attracts no comment from the working patty?? In another
entry, Fudge "finds much merit in the work", according to
Orange. He offers support to both Hayward and Orange in
further letters, as does fellow Canterbury history professor
Ian Campbell.

Orange's summary of Fudge's April 2000 letter continues,
"and yet Thomas is recognised as a careful scholar. It may
be objected that he is not a specialist in Holocaust
studies. The same is true of all three members of the
working patty. I regret that the university did not ensure
that at least one member of that party had proven expertise
in the field."

The one historian who did have unquestionable expertise in
the field was Richard Evans, professor of modern history at
Cambridge. In 2000, Evans had just completed work as an
expert witness in the David Irving trial at the High Court
in London. Irving, the world's most famous Holocaust
denier, had sued author Deborah Lipstadt; Evans's analysis
of the falsifications in Irving's work destroyed both his
legal case and his reputation as a historian. The New
Zealand Jewish council sought Evans's opinion on the Hayward
thesis and submitted that opinion - a 71-page report to the
working patty. Evans argued that Hayward's thesis was "a
thoroughly tendentious, biased and dishonest piece of work"
that clearly constituted Holocaust denial. He recommended
that Canterbury strip Hayward of his mater's degree. While
agreeing that the thesis was "flawed", the university was
unable to prove dishonesty, a required ground for revoking a
degree. Thus Canterbury remained the only reputable
university in the world to endorse a work of Holocaust

Yet the affair still nagged at Fudge, in his capacity as the
editor of the history department's journal, History Now, Ian
Campbell commissioned an essay from Fudge on the Hayward
story. Given the support that both men had offered Hayward,
it was no surprise that the resulting essay attacked Evans
and others while seeking to rehabilitate the
Holocaust-denying thesis. When the journal appeared in May,
the department withdrew it, sacked Campbell as its editor
and held a crisis meeting at which the volatile Fudge
spontaneously offered his resignation (he has since publicly
signalled his intention to remain "for 30 years"; but also
says, in a subsequent interview, that he may yet leave).
Why did the department withdraw the journal? Among the
reasons cited are fears of defamation action, Fudge's misuse
of personal and interdepartmental correspondence and
breaching of an Informal agreement that Fudge would stop
discussing the Hayward affair in public. It was also noted
that Campbell should have sought the prior approval of his
depart-mental colleagues, most of whom did not share Fudge's
view that Hayward was an academic martyr.

A bowdlerised version of the Fudge essay, minus some of the
more extreme claims and the 85 footnotes, appeared in
newspapers in July. The same newspapers made righteous
noises about "academic freedom", although, as Evans has
since written, the issue is different "It is rather the
upholding of academic standards. Nobody has stopped Hayward 

or Fudge from publishing what they have written. Whether or

 not it should receive the imprimatur of a respected
university is the question at issue. It's a question that
seems to be beyond Fudge's understanding: he charged that
the university?s vice chancellor, Roy Sharp, suppressed his
academic freedom. Last month, the University council found
sharp had not done so. Fudge had always, Sharp has said,
been free to publish in the public arena. "Indeed, Fudge was
offered suggestions as to other media in which he could

However, Fudge and others managed to ~ sneak some copies of
the original journal past the ban. Fudge sent one copy to
Hayward, for example. The original, unedited essay has also
appeared on the website of a group dedicated to the
circulation of Holocaust denying material. "The above
complete version has been kindly sent to us by the author,"
the site's reprints editor writes. Fudge professes ignorance
of the website - which is not one that any credible
historian would be willingly associated with - and claims
not to have given permission to reprint. Contacted by the
Listener, the site's manager reiterates his claim that Fudge
"supplied the copy".

The original, unedited essay challenges Fudge's image as "a
careful scholar". Lincoln University lecturer Greg Ryan has
written to the Press (July 31), claiming that Fudge
"selectively and inaccurately represented" a private
conversation held nearly three years earlier. "I am left to
ponder the ethics of Fudge's approach to oral history in
that private conversations are documented and reproduced
without the knowledge or consent of the source," Ryan wrote.

This writer has also had experience of Fudge's peculiar
biases and inaccuracies. Among the material cut from Fudge's
essay for newspaper publication was a paragraph on the
Listener, including a quote attributed to myself that I did
not recognise ("Nothing new had appeared for a while," was
attributed to me as the reason for doing last November's
story). "It came from one of the people that you talked to
late last year," Fudge said, when asked. "I don't remember
who it was, offhand." When it was put to him that he was
unable to provide a source, he replied: "I don't know if I
am unable or unwilling."

Huh? What was the mystery, as I obviously knew the names of
all those I talked to last year? My belief is that this
quote might be a distorted version of a comment made to
Hayward during an off-the-record conversation. This would
call into question Fudge's endnote that "neither Joel
Hayward nor Vincent Orange has been associated with the
preparation of this article". Clarifying; Fudge says, "that
endnote was put there simply to deflect comments that
Hayward and Orange were behind it".

From there, the interview - my first of two with Fudge -
descended into farce. Fudge spoke about "speculation" - "I'm
not going to mention names" - about myself, the Listener and
"your motivations and your journalism". When asked to
elaborate, he said, "I'm not at liberty to repeat ?? Pressed
further, he offered, "speculation among media specialists in
the country". Which media specialists? Pressed further
still, he managed to come up with Canterbury's public
relations department "There's all kinds of people," he
added. But what about these secret motivations? Are they at
all related to "the specialist interest group" - read: the
Jewish community - that the website of Holocaust denier
David Irving believes is behind the Listener's journalism?

OF COURSE, PARANOID WEIRDNESS is never too far from the
surface when one looks into the world of the Holocaust
denier and those who apologise for them. Running
contemporaneously with Fudge's ill-fated "academic freedom"
campaign has been the emergence of the story's self-styled
victim, Joel Hayward. When Hayward's thesis emerged from

 the obscenity of its six-year embargo into the glare of negative
attention in late 1999, he was moved to attach an addendum
that apologised for his errors and any offence caused to the
Jewish community. Many took the apology as sincere.

Since July, Hayward has broken his silence in some media. In
the absence of an explanation from him - Hayward is
unwilling to answer any questions put by the Listener - one
can only speculate about why. Either Hayward has sensed that
public and media support for a nebulous idea of "academic
freedom" is strong enough to rehabilitate him and his
thesis, or, having resigned from his position at Massey
University last year, he sees that he has nothing to lose in
the academic world. When he apologised in 2000, he had a
teaching position to protect.

Many in the media have happily bought the image of Hayward
as victim. TV3's 60 Minutes went to air with Hayward's
claims that he received death threats in 2000, even though,
the story's producer Paula Penfold concedes, no evidence of
threats exists and Hayward never lodged a complaint with the
police. "We spent a couple of days with him, and found him
to be genuine and credible," Penfold says. In this same
report, Hayward produced a bullet that he claimed had been
handed to him, in his Massey office, to signify a threat to
his life. "You'll get yours, mate," was the alleged threat.
However, the Listener has a signed affidavit that this
bullet - a dud from a World War era rifle that few in New
Zealand would use - was presented to Hayward as a "keepsake"
by a defence studies student. If this "you'll get yours,
mate" sentence ever occurred, it did not come from that
Is Hayward a harmless fantasist or is this victim act a
smokescreen for the rehabilitation of the thesis's more
dangerous leanings? Certainly, Hayward's former cohorts in
the Holocaust denial industry never believed his apology to
be genuine. Active deniers Irving, Fredrick Toben and
Robert Countess - on whose Alabama property Hayward was
photographed shooting a gun in 1994, during a period in
which he said he had no further contact with deniers - have
written and spoken of continued correspondence and contact
with Hayward that suggests a different image to the mask he
has worn in public.

"I have no reason to believe that Hayward really changed his
view of his fine thesis," Countess wrote to me, "but he did
make ~a public apology 'for fear of the Jews'." Countess
goes on, using appropriately muscular language: "Hayward is
not a man of the personality type to be bold. He is a good
and decent fellow and a fine scholar, but his personality is
weak?.. He erred greatly in his personal weaknesses before
the Jewish onslaught." Publicly, Hayward has made efforts to
distance himself from this kind of rhetoric. In his
addendum, he wrote about "negative experiences with certain
revisionists" who spread "anti-Semitic or neo-Nazi

HOWEVER, 'THE LANGUAGE of Hayward's most recent public
pronouncements is beginning to differ from the prostrate
tone of 2000 when he faced that alleged "Jewish onslaught".
In a letter to the Press (August 12, 2003), he offers the
opinion that "a student can ask honest questions about the
Holocaust and arrive at unconventional answers" - how does
that compare to the mea culpa of his 2000 addendum with its
reference to his admitted "errors of fact and
interpretation"? In that addendum, he fretted about "causing
distress to the Jewish community". Now, in a column
syndicated in New Zealand newspapers in late August, he
believes that the university "should never have succumbed to
external pressures from any minority or special-interest
group"  rather than stand firm and hold up the principles of
free inquiry and free speech, it buckled ..." Does this mean
that Hayward has gone back on his apology? We would love to

In the same column, Hayward mentions - three times, in fact
- that Evans was paid for his assessment of the thesis and
his work on the Irving case. The innuendo is nasty -could
Evans be bought? By those Jews with their moneybags? - but
is easily refuted. On the Irving case, Evans was paid the
standard hourly rate that Witnesses are paid. "Is Hayward
implying that no expert witnesses in any court cases can be
trusted because they are paid for their work?" Evans writes.

For the New Zealand Jewish Council, he received a token fee
for four days' work. "I did not want to be seen to be doing
the work on a political basis, which no doubt I would have
been accused of doing had I lent my services free of charge,
but on a professional basis."

The reality of Evans's token fee undermines Hayward's
self-pitying remark that he, unlike the Jewish Council,
"could not afford to employ an expert". Such a fee would not
have been beyond a lecturer's salary. The question is, what
kind of "expert historian" would have gone in to bat for
Hayward's thesis? Irving, perhaps?

Running parallel to all this is the circulation of a
petition, devised by Victoria University economics professor
Martin Lally, calling for an apology to be granted to
Hayward. It also deals with other, more general issues of
academic freedom and university process - so general,
apparently, that MP Rodney Hide was happy to sign the
petition without having read either the Hayward thesis or
the unedited Fudge essay. However, at the time of going to
press, the only two New Zealand historians to have added
their names to it are both retired from academic life and
implicated in the thesis's contents - Vincent Orange was its
supervisor and internal examiner and John Jensen, formerly
of Waikato University, was its external examiner.

These events are being watched with fascination by the
international Holocaust denial network, who seem to see New
Zealand as fertile ground (Irving has announced plans for a
visit early next year). Fudge's essay and statements and
Hayward's letters appear on denial websites with approving
headlines and endnotes; Lally's pedantic correspondence with
Evans somehow made its way to Irving's online "action
report" (Lally claims that he has had no direct contact with
Irving, and assumes that his emails were forwarded by one of
the 300 that he copied his correspondence to) as did,
somewhat amusingly, my own correspondence with Lally about
how his correspondence reached Irving (same answer,
presumably). A thesis reconsidering the Nuremberg trial,
written by former Canterbury student Stephen Daniel Eaton,
marked by Orange and presented by Hayward with his own
thesis to Robert Countess - although Hayward later denied, 

to the Listener, ever having even read Eaton's thesis - 

has appeared online with a new preface by Countess attacking 

the New Zealand Jewish Council as, predictably, "vicious, 

envious, hate-filled, racist, anti-intellectual ideologues".

The removal of New Zealand Herald cartoonist Malcolm Evans - 

who produced some work critical of Israel - was taken as
evidence of a powerful and censorial Jewish lobby by media
commentator Brian Edwards. Edwards was immediately hailed as

 a courageous spokesman by Holocaust denier Fredrick Toben for 

his statement, recorded in the Waikato Times, that, "I
want to say that the Holocaust didn't happen, then I should
be allowed to say that. "
Edwards was trying to make a point about free speech, rather
than deny the Holocaust. However, as it stands in New
Zealand, he already is allowed to say that it didn't happen.
The real point, though, is why would anyone want to? Why
would such overwhelming documentary evidence as exists for
the Holocaust be wilfully denied? Swiss Holocaust denier
Jurgen Graf, whose work is titled The Holocaust on Trial,
has summed up the mindset: "if the Holocaust were publicly
exposed as a shameless fraud, if people all over the world
learned that, while the Jews undoubtedly were brutally
persecuted during the Second World War, there was no attempt
to exterminate them, that the death factories, gas chambers
and gas vans were a Jewish swindle, and that the six million
figure was a fantastic exaggeration, the Zionist led 'New
World Order' would be all but finished? [The consequences]
would be catastrophic beyond repair for international Jewry
and the state of Israel."

In the world of the Holocaust denier, naked anti-Semitism is
now dressed up with otherwise unrelated criticism of Israel
- this is why you will also find links to pro-Palestinian
reporting on Irving's website. Valid criticisms can be made
of Israel as an occupying military power, but Holocaust
deniers are not renowned for their support of oppressed
minorities, unless that minority happens to be engaged in
urban warfare with Jews. Holocaust denial begins with
anti-Semitism as the irrational driving force and then looks
for intellectual or pseudo-intellectual support: it's the
hatred of a race that extends to hatred of a nation. And in
New Zealand, the Holocaust deniers have found otherwise
reputable academics who are able to be exploited by this hatred.

Kerry Bolton's Letter to The Listener

15 September 2003

NZ Listener

Having read Dr Joel Hayward's thesis on holocaust
revisionism, the Canterbury University working party report
and the full text of Dr Thomas Fudge's article, I would like
to make a few comments on Philip Matthews' article
(Canterbury Tales, 20 September).

Dr Fudge is an expert on the inquisition and heresies, and
his article on Hayward was written on that basis.

Richard Evans, lauded by Mathews as the "holocaust expert"
who provided testimony at the Irving-Lipstadt libel trial
and for the NZ Jewish Council, was criticised by both the
Canterbury working party tribunal and Justice Gray in
Britain, for his polemical, emotional statements.

The working party's main criticism of Hayward was that he
had offered a conclusion which was outside the scope of his
thesis requirements. The working party report shows that
"like Justice Gray at the Irving-Lipstadt trial" the
tribunal was not capable of comprehending the significance
of the technical evidence regarding gas chambers and the
plausibility of execution by diesel.

Mathews fails to acknowledge the academic credentials of
the revisionists he cites, doctors Countess and Toben.
Proponents of holocaust orthodoxy claim that revisionism has
no academic standing. Most spokesmen for revisionism are
academics, or are qualified in relevant fields such as
engineering and toxicology. I would challenge Mathews as to
whether most revisionists are pro-Nazi or anti-Semitic.
Among the first to question holocaust orthodoxy was Prof.
Paul Rassinier, imprisoned at Buchenwald as a leader of the
French resistance.

Where Dr Hayward errs is in his retraction of his
conclusions. The original Leuchter investigation of the
alleged Auschwitz gas chambers has been professionally
replicated by Germar Rudolf, chemical analysis showing that
there is insufficient cyanide residue for these buildings to
have been used for mass executions.

K R Bolton





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