[personal remarks removed]
I am therefore wondering whether you will post the
following letter on the Nizkor page “assigned” to my name.
This may help to present a fair picture.
Dr Joel Hayward
I would like to correct some of the statements that Mr David Irving has
made on his web site.
First, I have not “recanted” about the Holocaust because of pressure from
Jewish groups or individuals. I have instead changed my mind about the
conclusions I reached as a young MA student in the very early 1990s.
I’m baffled by the insistence of some people that I “must not” change my
mind about the Holocaust debate. This attitude is unscholarly. Why can I
not change my mind? Must my ideas be stuck in a 1991 rut?
I am obliged as a scholar to remain open to new evidence, to reflect on old
evidence, to test arguments, and to abandon those that — to me — don’t
stack up. I have done this, and now know from reflection and further
reading that my old MA thesis contains errors of fact and interpretation. I
also know that those errors have caused pain to some people in the New
Zealand Jewish community, especially to Holocaust survivors. So I have done
what I sincerely believe is the right thing: admitted my mistakes and said
My change of mind is genuine, and absolutely not the product of coercion by
Jewish groups or individuals or anyone else (even though it’s true I have
experienced some resistance over the years). I have simply come to realise
that I made mistakes and now want, on my own initiative, to say sorry so
that my mistakes don’t continue to cause distress.
The responsibility to do so wouldn’t normally accompany recognition of
errors in an unpublished masters thesis, but I am well aware that my old
work dealt with an unusually sensitive and contentious topic.
I would also like to clarify one other issue:
In a letter to a Wehrmacht military history discussion group (which now
appears on Mr Irving’s web site) I once offered support for the quality of
Mr Irving’s MILITARY history scholarship, even though I simultaneously
stated that I did not agree with his political and racial views.
My research in German primary MILITARY documents (conducted in several
European archives) does indeed show me that Mr Irving did not falsify those
sources or employ them according to an improper methodology. I have not
seen any examples from the diaries of Jodl, Milch, Richthofen, etc, where
he falsified evidence.
But I have now seen enough evidence from the trial transcripts to believe
that Mr Irving has a problem with Jews and consequently employed improper
methodology when dealing with certain documents relating to aspects of the
Holocaust. I did not know this until the intense scrutiny of his books
during the recent trial made it manifest.
I was also offended by some of his statements and actions, and consider the
trial to be extremely informative. I learned many new things about Mr
I still consider much of Mr Irving’s work on Wehrmacht operational history
to be strong and useful (as even the judge observed), and he deserves
credit for books like Trail of the Fox. But I accept the judge’s verdict
that Mr Irving’s obvious difficulty with Jewish issues distorted the way he
sees and presents the Holocaust.
Subject: “Mr Irving has a problem with Jews …”
Organization: The Nizkor Project https://nizkor.org
From: Ken McVay
Date: Sun, 30 Apr 2000 20:56:03 +1200
To: [email protected]
From: Dr Joel Hayward