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Richard "Skunky" Evans continues to attack Joel
Hayward. This is virtually identical to his
article in the NZ Herald.
Christchurch, New Zealand, September 3,
[click for Related
editorial, same day]
Thesis Full of
by Richard J
Hayward put "Holocaust denial" on the same
footing as genuine historical research and
suppressed material that counted against the
deniers, writes Cambridge don
THREE years ago I was asked
paid] vby the New
Zealand Jewish Council to read a Canterbury
by Joel Hayward and to give my opinion on
its academic merits.
The dissertation, awarded a Master's degree in
1993, purported to assess on the basis of an
objective study of the historical evidence claims
by "Holocaust deniers" that the Nazis did not
deliberately kill some six million Jews between
1939 and 1945, and did not use mass gassings to do
so. What I found was very
The "Holocaust denial" literature Hayward was
considering was well known to specialists and
others as anti-Semitic, racist, and frequently
neo-Fascist propaganda masquerading as scholarship.
Yet Hayward not only treated it on an equal footing
with genuine historical research but consistently
denigrated the many historians in many countries
who had carried out bona fide research into the
Holocaust, claiming, for instance, that they were
mainly Jewish (not true) and therefore produced
tendentious and unscholarly work (which did not
follow, and was also untrue).
He presented Holocaust deniers on the other hand
as objective scholars searching for the truth, and
concluded that in many cases the deniers' claims
was systematically tendentious and dishonest in
its appraisal of the literature. I found
evidence that he had suppressed material he
claimed to have read if it counted against the
deniers. I concluded that it was not a bona fide
work of scholarship, and that the degree of MA
should be withdrawn.
The university appointed a working party to
consider the case. It concluded, astonishingly to
anyone familiar with this area, that Hayward's work
was merely flawed, and that the degree awarded to
it should not be withdrawn.
Now Hayward has left the academic profession. A
new row has broken out, with his defenders,
principally Dr Thomas Fudge, claiming in
your pages that Hayward has been the subject of a
In advancing his case, Dr Fudge has
systematically denigrated my work and assailed my
integrity and objectivity as a historian. He has
also made a number of inaccurate claims about my
report and the use made of it by the working
Dr Fudge is misleading your readers when he
claims that "no appropriate expert historians were
approached" by the working party. The working party
explicitly accepted my expertise, and indeed could
hardly do otherwise when I had shortly before been
accepted by both sides in the London High Court
case of Irving versus Penguin Books and
Lipstadt as an expert witness in the field.
The working party accepted that my report has a
"strong scholarly foundation". It upheld all of its
central findings, which included detailed evidence
of selective and biased use of evidence in Dr
Hayward's dissertation, failure to disclose
contrary evidence, failure to pay attention to
relevant secondary literature, tendentious
interpretations, and -- to quote the working party
report -- "being consistently misleading in the
handling of relevant evidence".
The number of points that the working party did
not accept in my 71-page report were few, and all
very minor. Some of them were little more than
Dr Fudge claims my report was "a partisan
opinion commissioned by an interested caucus".
He should be aware that while expert reports are
customarily commissioned by one party or another in
a dispute, the law insists that they should be
objective, irrespective of who has commissioned
them, and experts who have acted as advisers to
court proceedings, such as myself, in the past, are
fully aware of the need to be objective.
When I was asked to write the report, I made it
quite clear to the New Zealand Jewish Council that
I would carry out the work completely
independently, and I required them to submit it to
the working party irrespective of the conclusions I
arrived at. The report was not edited or vetted by
the council in any way.
The working party claimed that the language I
used went beyond that normally used by an expert
witness in a law case. It did not provide a single
example to back up this unconvincing claim.
Moreover, this was not a law case, and I was not an
expert witness, merely an external consultant.
It is not true of Dr Fudge to claim that the
working party took little or no account of the
criticisms made by Dr Hayward and his defenders of
my report. On the contrary, it gave them full
consideration, and in almost every case upheld my
It is completely untrue
of Dr Fudge to claim that "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."
These astonishing claims make me wonder if Dr
Fudge has read my report at all.
me quote directly from my report: "Clearly we are
not dealing here with deliberate and repeated
falsification and manipulation of the historical
record of the sort undertaken over the years for
example by David Irving. Nor does there
appear to be any racist or anti- Semitic purpose
behind Hayward's writing, such as the court
documented in Irving's case."
My report made a particular point of noting that
Hayward's chosen subject was far too large a topic
for a Master's thesis. His supervisor was clearly
at fault in not guiding him towards a more
manageable topic, and also lacked the expertise to
correct the numerous errors and tendentious claims
present in the dissertation.
There were no procedures in place at the
university to ensure that the topic chosen was
appropriate for the level of the degree.
Worse still, the regulations in force at the
time allowed the supervisor to act as internal
examiner, a clash of interest if ever there was
These procedural faults, as I pointed out, bore
a large measure of responsibility for the fact that
the dissertation received an MA degree with high
honours. I am glad that they have since been
What has happened to Dr Hayward since is not my
The central issue in all this is not academic
freedom, because in dealing with Holocaust denial
we are not dealing with academic work. 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 institution is the question at
Richard J. Evans is Professor of Modern
History at the University of Cambridge.
Our dossier on the Joel
dossier on Richard "Skunky" Evans
Press, Readers' Letters
Hayward writes: "Husband Joel Hayward, not Joel
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
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 |
threats and breakdowns - the Holocaust thesis
destroyed my life