[Joel Hayward in 1994 and later in 2015]
The movie Denial has just started screening widely in New Zealand cinemas. Rachel Weisz stars as Deborah Lipstadt, an historian and writer who was sued for libel by renowned Holocaust denier and anti-Semite, David Irving (played by Timothy Spall).
What makes this real-life drama even more interesting to a Kiwi audience is that Irving has links to New Zealand’s own Canterbury University through its Department of History.
In 1993 Joel Hayward completed an MA at Canterbury University referencing Irving numerous times in his thesis entitled " The Fate of Jews in German Hands." His thesis concluded that "the weight of evidence supports the view that the Nazis did not systematically exterminate Jews in gas chambers or have external policies as such."
Hayward received an A+ grade and was invited by irving to be a witness at Lipstadt's trial. Seven years later, the thesis which had been embargoed until then, was published and the NZ Jewish Council called for an investigation. Professor Richard Evans who was a key expert in the Lipstadt-Irving trial was asked to assess Hayward's thesis and concluded that Hayward should be stripped of his degree.
The Canterbury Working Party, the investigating body, found Hayward's conclusion was "perverse and unjustified" and Hayward apologised. However, the working party could find no evidence of dishonesty to strip him of his degree.
Later evidence shows Hayward in a different light, in one article supporting Hitler, another denigrating him. Hayward completed a PhD and has since become chair of the Department of Humanities and Social Sciences in Abu Dhabi and converted to Islam.
To read the full story, go to the Shalom Kiwi website: http://shalom.kiwi/2017/04/kiwi-link-denial-canterbury-tales/