In mid-2000 the Canterbury Working Party instructed me to respond to a written submission by the New Zealand Jewish Council and a written report by Professor Richard J. Evans of Cambridge University, who was working for the Jewish Council.
I was amazed by what I considered the inaccurate and mistake-riddled historical scholarship within the former submission but initially daunted by eminent Professor Evans' heavy-weight report.
It is my sincere hope to obtain copies of both documents and, in a spirit of transparency and fairness, to post them on this website. I will first seek permission of the authors.
Strictly Private and Confidential
The Honourable Sir Ian Barker
Professor Stuart Macintyre
Emeritus Professor Ann Trotter
Cc. Mr Alan Hayward, Registrar,
Dear Working Party,
I have before me the New Zealand Jewish Council's undated submission as well as the very lengthy report written by Professor Richard J. Evans of the
First, I am disappointed that my own efforts to reassure the New Zealand Jewish Council of my good will -- manifest in my open letters to the New Zealand Jewish Chronicle, an invitation at one point to meet with them for an attempt at conciliation if they so chose, and my initial approaches to the University of Canterbury in November and December 1999 -- have apparently made little or no impression. On the contrary, I now find that the Council has adopted the strident and directly confrontational stance of labelling me a Holocaust-denier and accusing me of deliberate and dishonest manipulation of historical evidence.
Second, although I empathise with the New Zealand Jewish Council's desire to safeguard the memory of the victims of Nazi barbarism, I do wish I could find some way to convince the Council that on this occasion its concerns are entirely misplaced and that its allegations are unfair, incorrect and inappropriate. I am not a Holocaust denier or a Holocaust revisionist and my Master of Arts thesis, written in 1991 and submitted for examination in 1993, does not deny the Holocaust or accuse Jews of exaggerating their suffering. Moreover, I emphatically insist with all force available to me that I did NOT act dishonestly in my methodology. I find this accusation deeply offensive and needlessly inflammatory. Permit me to repeat what I wrote to the Working Party in my statement of 12 July: "I live in clear conscience that I did my best as a young `apprentice' historian. I employed accepted historical methodology, did not plagiarise, did not ignore or fail to consider any evidence because it ran counter to my views, and did not bolster my arguments with any evidence I knew to be false." Even after reading the hurtful allegations made by the Council and by Professor Evans, my conscience remains clear!
Third, despite these allegations being made against me, I do not want my responses to them to be viewed by the Working Parry or any other persons as either a defence of the conclusions I reached in my old MA thesis or as an attack on the New Zealand Jewish Council or any other Jewish agencies. I have already repeatedly and publicly stated, on my own initiative and in good faith, that subsequent years of reading and, most importantly, reflection, compel me to see evidence in other lights and to arrive at conclusions that differ from those expressed in my earliest attempt to make sense of the terribly complex issues involved. Additionally, I have always tried to show good faith towards the New Zealand Jewish Council and I will continue to do so. I am not their opponent and I remain very willing to meet with the Council in an effort to resolve perceived differences. With this in mind, I am hoping that the Chairman of the Working Party, who is, I observe, a leading community mediator, will facilitate whatever steps towards the restoration of harmony are needed.
The New Zealand Jewish Council's submission contains several factual errors that I would like to clear up before engaging the baseless accusation that I acted improperly and dishonestly in selecting and presenting sources and forming arguments.
1. I did not embargo my thesis in the Library of the
2. I did not send copies of my thesis overseas for the "use" of "actively antisemitic Holocaust deniers". I sent copies only to those two or three persons who requested copies in return for rare primary documents and other key materials I had previously requested of them. In other words, a document exchange of sorts took place. But I expressly forbade any use or publication of the thesis, in part or in whole, and even attached a clearly worded statement to the inside cover page, which read:
Copyright 1993 J.S.A. Hayward
All rights Reserved
No reproduction, copy or transmission of any part of this M.A. thesis
may be made without written permission from the author.
It is still my firm belief that these persons honoured my request that they not use my thesis in any public sense. They doubtless read it themselves, but they never quoted it in a single article or book, or made mention of it in public discourse of any kind.
3. Therefore, the Council is very wrong to suggest that I gave out copies to Holocaust deniers who wanted to use it, or did use it, to "lend credibility to their claims". It would seem, in fact, that it is the recent actions of the Council, in publicly attacking my thesis, that has drawn attention to it.
4. I am aware of only one revisionist person making any attempt to use my thesis to strengthen his own position: Dr Fredrick Toben of the Adelaide Institute. And it should be noted once again that I took immediate and successful steps, as outlined in my 12 July statement to the Working Party, to prevent any mischievous or harmful use of my thesis being made by that man.
5. It is indeed true that I tried hard and with all sincerity to reassure the wider New Zealand Jewish community that I regret any pain and anger caused by errors I accidentally made as a young student. But it is not accurate to state that I have "repudiated" my thesis. That I acknowledge having made errors of fact and judgement -- even in some of my main conclusions -- and that I recognise and regret the distress some readers have expressed, does not mean that I disavow the work in its entirety. I remain convinced that I tried hard to make sense of complex issues, and that my strenuous efforts to produce what I considered the best possible thesis (I remember working at an exhausting pace for a full year) resulted in my acquisition of greatly increased writing, bibliographical and historiographical skills. I can't therefore see the thesis and my efforts as lacking all merit.
6. I do not consider fair and applicable the New Zealand Jewish Council's submission that "the views advanced and conclusions reached ... are ones that no reasonable historian could argue either then or now." Two well respected historians considered it worthy of a pass grade for a thesis, and several other scholars, including some of my own colleagues, have now read the thesis and have expressed surprise at the unfairness of the attacks I have experienced. Anyway, the Council's use of the word "reasonable" reminds me of the phrase "right-thinking", which carries an equally subjective value judgement. Both are very problematic and speak more of the users' positions and preconceptions than about their targets. Most important, of course, is the fact that my thesis was NOT written by a "historian", a term clearly denoting professional and scholarly experience and sophistication, but by a young history student who had completed no more than three years of tertiary study! If my MA thesis is to be critiqued, it simply must be done so with this in mind.
7. I do NOT accept the New Zealand Jewish Council's statement that my MA thesis can lend credence "to the view that the Holocaust as generally understood is a Jewish fabrication". In fact, my thesis is sharply critical of all writers who have alleged (nastily and foolishly in my view) a Jewish conspiracy to fabricate Holocaust atrocities.
On page 6, to give some examples from the first half of my thesis only (although I can produce easily as many from the second), I condemned as "anti-Jewish" those who expressed the belief that "Jews are naturally more likely to exaggerate their suffering than non-Jews". On page 42 I criticised Josef Ginsburg's various anti-Jewish conspiracy theories as "unsubstantiated assertions, seriously detracting from the books' overall impact and ability to persuade". On page 44 I described Louis Marschalko's claims that Jews fabricated their Holocaust suffering as "unscholarly ... weak, racist arguments". Two pages later I described them as "nonsense". A further two pages later I called the same views "too polemical and biased against Jews". On page 54 I bluntly wrote that, to state that Jewish frauds "have occurred on a `horrendous scale' [as one particularly nasty writer said] and as the result of a Jewish conspiracy to defraud the German government, is preposterous and totally insupportable." On the same page I criticised that author's "biases and prejudices", while on the next page I condemned his claims of a Jewish conspiracy as "totally unsustainable". On page 141 I even point out that the conspiratorial views about Jewish fabrications and lies made by Arthur Butz, the grand-daddy of all Holocaust revisionists, "diminish his claim that he has produced a dispassionate analysis". Certain such sections, I added, "contain little more than speculation and unsustained allegations based on his own preconceptions". Page 196 contains my blunt criticism of William Grimstad's book, which is "an anti-Semitic attempt to prove that the Holocaust is just one (albeit the biggest) of the very many fabricated atrocity stories advanced by the Jewish people". I then called the book "subjective, unscholarly and anti-Jewish" and noted that the Institute of Historical Review sold the book, "to its discredit".
ALLEGATIONS OF DISHONESTY IN THE NEW ZEALAND JEWISH COUNCIL'S SUBMISSION
I emphatically deny that I acted dishonestly in the selection, evaluation or presentation of sources. I consider this allegation defamatory and hurtful, and I oppose such claims with all my strength.
I intend to address each accusation in turn.
APPENDIX B relates to claims made in a report by Professor Richard Evans of Cambridge University and will be dealt with at length in another section below.
APPENDIX C relates to an accusation that I deliberated misrepresented the outcome of a long-running legal battle between Mr Mel Mermelstein and the Institute of Historical Review (IHR). This accusation is, with respect, surprisingly weak and unsustainable. I certainly stand by my statement in the thesis (p. 159) that, even though the IHR agreed to settle out of court and made an apology and concessionary statement that Jews were gassed at Auschwitz, "the apology was not an admission that Mermelstein had proved [emphasis added] that Jews or others were gassed at Auschwitz".
In short, Mr Mermelstein did not get paid the money because he proved -- that is, demonstrated conclusively the validity of his case by weight of historical evidence -- that homicidal gassings occurred at Auschwitz. On the contrary, he received payment because the IHR decided it could not continue the lawsuit or risk having to pay a greater financial penalty.
Even the newspaper clipping from the New York Times of 25 July 1985, kindly supplied by the New Zealand Jewish Council, does not say that Mr Mermelstein had successfully "proved" the verity of received wisdom on homicidal gassings at Auschwitz. No less importantly, the "pretrial finding" mentioned in the newspaper article, and in the New Zealand Jewish Council's appendix, is clearly mentioned in pages 157-158 of my thesis -- and is therefore not suppressed. It refers to Judge Thomas' "judicial notice" of homicidal gassings, based not on consideration of specific evidence produced by Mr Mermelstein, but on the judge's decision to create a certain legal framework of understanding for trying the case.
Thus, there is absolutely no contradiction in my statements and certainly no deliberate falsification or misrepresentation.
APPENDIX D relates to the New Zealand Jewish Council's allegation that I ignored key documents on diesel gas vans. In particular, they criticise me for seeing value in Friedrich Paul Berg's writings on the great difficulties associated with using the exhaust from diesel motors as a means of killing humans en masse, whilst I chose not to mention or analyse the writings of Christopher Browning or Raul Hilberg. This, the Council argues, demonstrates that I deliberately avoided "referring to any other authority or evidence which gives counter arguments to what he [that is, me] is espousing".
With respect, this allegation is also very weak and unsustainable. Neither of the readings that the New Zealand Jewish Council alleges I ignored or suppressed (and which, once again, they kindly supplied) actually refers even once, in a single line, to diesel gas vans or chambers. Yet Berg's argument and my analysis of it, as noted above, relate only to the science of diesel gas in particular, not to gas trucks (or chambers) in general. Where in the provided pages from Christopher Browning's and Raul Hilberg's excellent books is ANY evidence about the use of diesel exhaust as the homicidal weapon? Where in those pages is ANY evidence that I could have used to counter Berg's claims about diesel? The answer to both questions is "nowhere".
And it should also be noted that my conclusions on Berg's engineering studies of the homicidal use of diesel contain these important lines (page 191 of my thesis):
However, the doubt Berg casts on those sources should not be seen as proof that such gassings did not occur. His work is clearly the first word on the subject, and is therefore not to be ignored, but it should not be considered the final word.
Thus, as well as not ignoring or suppressing evidence, it is clear that I was not denying that homicidal gassings in trucks occurred, or even that gassings in diesel-fuelled chambers or trucks occurred. So once again I find it easy to reject the allegation of dishonest practice.
APPENDIX E relates to the New Zealand Jewish Council's allegation that I misrepresented the content of a particular book, Six Million Did Die: The Truth Shall Prevail, by Arthur Suzman and Denis Diamond. This is a strangely weak allegation, given that it merely challenges my assessment of a book. I defend my right to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of any piece of scholarship according to my own best judgements, even though my evaluation may not match someone else's (in this case the New Zealand Jewish Council's). In response to this current situation I have skimmed through the Suzman and Diamond volume again. I do not consider it any stronger or more persuasive now than I did when I first read it around a decade ago. It is certainly greatly inferior to the crop of anti-revisionist works published in recent years, including Deborah Lipstadt's.
I certainly do not think the postwar affidavits by Shawcross, Elwyn-Jones and Speer represent compelling information of an evidential weight equivalent, for example, to contemporary wartime documents. Speer, in particular, has long been criticised by eminent scholars for his self-serving and sometimes dishonest presentation of historical evidence and events. Even if one rejects some of the arguments presented by Matthias Schmidt in his Albert Speer: End of a Myth (1984), it is still clear that Speer shaped and presented his version of the past in a way that few historians consider reliable. Even Gitta Sereny, whose 1995 book Albert Speer: His Battle with Truth (note the title!) is considered "definitive" by the New Zealand Jewish Council, wrote that Speer's various postwar writings and statements needed to be treated with marked circumspection. So I am surprised that my decision not to place evidential weight on Speer's affidavit is described so unkindly and unfairly by the New Zealand Jewish Council as proof of my "unfitness to write about the Holocaust in a balanced and fair way". I also point out that the Council's use of the word "unfitness" in this context is inappropriate and reflects, in my view, a sad ignorance of scholarly methodology.
It is also clear that the Council has completely misunderstood the significance of the partial quotation by Suzman and Diamond of Nuremberg document 3311-PS (US-293). This Nuremberg document clearly refers to the establishment of three original steam chambers at Treblinka in late-April 1942, with a further ten established "somewhat later". My source for this, which I checked again today, is Volume 3, pp. 632-633 of the German edition of the main IMT Nuremberg trial transcripts (I have my own 22-volume set of these). 3311-PS certainly does indeed say 13 steam chambers. So my statement that Suzman and Diamond quoted at length from this document, the original of which explicitly refers to thirteen steam chambers, is entirely accurate, as is my following statement that no leading scholars have accepted the verity of this story. My statement that Suzman and Diamond presented the document as factual is also correct; these authors do not mention the document's significant internal and external inconsistencies or the fact that it contains information inconsistent with received opinion about gassings at Treblinka. Thus, it is clear I did not falsify or misrepresent Suzman's and Diamond's use of 3311-PS.
I am most puzzled by the Council's strange but hostile criticism of my statement that Suzman and Diamond reported that "mass gassings occurred at camps where it was agreed by more cautious historians that no people were killed in gas chambers, such as Dachau." The Council insists that "this attribution by Hayward is completely false." The Council then stated that Suzman and Diamond only mentioned Dachau on pages 35, 42 and 74, and that these references don't mention homicidal gassings. With the greatest respect to the Council, it has really slipped up here. Permit me to quote from page xii of the second edition of Suzman's and Diamond's book (the edition I used in my thesis, as the footnote shows on page 76):
The Report [a South African Parliamentary Report] yet further reveals the baseless and dishonest allegations of [Richard] Harwood and others who seek to deny or mitigate the frightful atrocities committed in the concentration camps. In particular, the reports of the two investigating groups provide a detailed description of the Dachau gas chamber - the very existence of which Harwood denies.
I am attaching as an appendix to my statement photocopies of several pages from Suzman's and Diamond's Appendix IV, which reproduces large chunks from a 1945 South African Parliamentary Report, which the authors call (p. xiv) a "most important piece of documentary evidence". This Appendix contains explicit statements affirming that mass gassings occurred at Dachau! I reproduce one here (from Suzman and Diamond, p. 127), and refer the Working Party to my appendices:
The Joint Committee then proceeded to the "infamous concentration camp at Dachau", a distinguishing feature of which was the gas chamber, which is described in the following terms:
"The gas chamber was located in the centre of a large room in the crematory building. It was built of concrete. Its dimensions were about 20 by 20 feet and the ceiling was some 10 feet in height. In two opposite walls of the chamber were airtight doors through which condemned prisoners could be taken into the chamber for execution and removed after execution. The supply of gas into the chamber was controlled by means of two valves on one of the outer walls, and beneath the valves was a small glass-covered peep-hole through which the operator could watch the victims die. The gas was let into the chamber through pipes terminating in perforated brass fixtures set into the ceiling. The chamber was of size sufficient to execute probably a hundred men at one time. The room in which the gas chamber stood was flanked on both ends by ware-rooms in which the bodies were placed after execution to await cremation. The size of each room was approximately 30 by 50 feet. At the time we visited the camp these ware-rooms were piled high with dead bodies. In one of the rooms the bodies were thrown in an irregular heap. In the other room they were neatly stacked like cordwood. The irregular pile of bodies was perhaps 10 feet high, covering most of the floor space. All of them were naked.
It is thus clear that Suzman and Diamond did report homicidal gassings in Dachau, even though mainstream scholarly opinion is firmly against this notion, and it is equally clear that the New Zealand Jewish Council got it wrong when it stated that Suzman and Diamond didn't refer to these homicidal gassings. The Council's careless mistake and its consequent erroneous allegation of dishonesty against me stem from the fact that it did not bother to, or know to, consult the second edition of Suzman and Diamond, even though my thesis makes clear that this was the one I had used. I would suggest, therefore, that with the greatest of respect it is not my research ability that is lacking on this occasion, but the Council's.
APPENDIX F is apparently missing and I cannot find in the submission of the Council an explanation of its contents.
APPENDIX G relates to the New Zealand Jewish Council's allegation that the University of Canterbury dismissed early complaints about my work in progress. It is not my place to comment on this allegation -- it is the University of Canterbury's -- suffice to say that the complaints were made by persons with no academic training, experience or standing and who had caused trouble for me on university, social and cultural occasions, and who had acted extremely unethically by videotaping me without my permission and distributing selectively edited transcripts. These facts were then known to the University of Canterbury.
APPENDIX H relates to the New Zealand Jewish Council's allegation that my thesis contains two internal inconsistencies, which caused the Council considerable "surprise" and "dismay". This is itself a strange and surprising allegation; as a thesis supervisor myself, I accept it almost as a given that a masters thesis will contain some -- but hopefully not many or major -- errors and inconsistencies. So I'm not at all surprised to have claims of inconsistencies made about my own masters thesis. Having said that, I strongly reject the notion that the two examples claimed by the Council actually contain inconsistencies. They do not.
The first supposed inconsistency mentioned in Appendix H relates to one statement (page 265 of my thesis) in which I note that David Irving admitted mistakenly misrepresenting a particular document's meaning and importance, and to another statement (page 320) in which I state that there is no evidence that Irving "would deliberately mistranslate passages in such a way as to support or defend any preconceived notions about the past."
I am most surprised that any thorough reader could consider these statements contradictory. The first statement indicates that David Irving unintentionally misunderstood, and consequently misrepresented, a particular document. In other words, Irving thought the document meant one thing, but had to concede later that his earliest interpretation was flawed. The second statement says that I hadn't found evidence that Irving deliberately mistranslated documents to bolster preconceptions. Thus -- although I am certainly making no statement here about the merits or demerits of David Irving's scholarship -- there is simply no contradiction between saying in my thesis that Irving accidentally misinterpreted a particular piece of evidence, and later readily admitted it on numerous occasions, and saying in the thesis that I didn't know of any cases where he deliberately mistranslated something.
The second supposed inconsistency relates to two statements I made about Einsatzgruppen statistics, but again I strongly reject the Council's accusation of incompatibility between my two sentences. The accusation is simply without merit. In the first sentence I firmly stated in my thesis that the Einsatzgruppen reports themselves are genuine documents, not created after the war for the purpose of fraud (which I called a "preposterous" revisionist claim). I went further, saying the documents are reliable evidence that "many hundreds of thousands of Jews" were murdered by the Einsatzgruppen alone. In the second statement I merely affirmed what all mainstream scholars working on the Einsatzgruppen believe: that, while the documents are genuine wartime sources of established provenance, the statistics they contain are problematic and don't allow us to "conclude with certainty" how many Jews actually perished at the hands of the Einsatzgruppen.
There is no inconsistency. As I explained on page 139, the extant Einsatzgruppen documents themselves mention, when they are all added up, some 2,200,000 deaths, but received wisdom is that this figure is very inflated and that the total was approximately half that, or maybe even less (and, it should be noted, on page 140 I offered a figure far more in keeping with received wisdom than with revisionist claims). So I consider my opinion that "many hundreds of thousands" of Jews were murdered to be a perfectly fair and accurate statement about the number of the Einsatzgruppen's victims, which probably cannot be calculated with much greater certainty because of the reports' internal statistical inflation. In both statements, incidentally, my views are similar to those expressed by Helmut Krausnick and Hans-Heinrich Wilhelm, leading mainstream authorities on the Einsatzgruppen.
I wish here to repeat that, while I refute the Council's claims of inconsistency between the statements mentioned, I do not intend my refutation be seen as a defence of David Irving's scholarship or of revisionist claims about the Einsatzgruppen. Moreover, even if these were genuine inconsistencies -- and they clearly are not -- they would certainly not necessarily form evidence of dishonesty on my part. Internal inconsistencies, as I notice in my own supervision duties, are not uncommon in masters theses. I'm actually satisfied by the fact that, in terms of supposed inconsistencies, these two cases -- which cause me no concern and don't represent inconsistency or dishonesty -- were all that the Jewish Council were able to see fault in.
*The only alterations are the deletions of personal addresses, as well as the replacement of one man's name with XXXXs to prevent that litigious fellow from forcing me to waste time and money in court.
For this website all original page breaks and numbers have been removed.
Vierteljahreshefte fuer Zeitgeschichte should have been
Vierteljahreshefte fuer freie Geschichtsforschung
Pages 115-131 of Arthur Suzman and Denis Diamond,
Six Million Did Die: The Truth Shall Prevail
[note: The New Zealand Council accused me of dishonestly inventing these pages! I have reproduced only one page (p. 127; the one quoted above in the text of my Submission) in this website to save my bandwidth. But If you want scans of all the relevant Suzman and Diamond pages I can email them to you. Just ask!]