Apology for Holocaust denial

October 18, 2002

Waikato University is to apologise to the Jewish community for the anguish caused by its handling of the case of a researcher accused of Holocaust denial.

An independent inquiry by Bill Renwick, former director-general of education in New Zealand, found that the university failed to treat the concerns of the Jewish community over the case with "appropriate sensitivity".

The inquiry was instigated two years ago, following concerns about researcher Hans Joachim Kupka, who was studying the use of German language in New Zealand. He left the university in June 2000 amid accusations that he had denied the Holocaust in publications on the internet.

Mr Kupka, in his submission to the inquiry, said that he held conservative views but was not a Holocaust denier or an anti-Semite, and that he had been seriously and consistently misrepresented.

Mr Renwick concluded that Mr Kupka's published opinions were "of a racist, anti-Semitic and Holocaust-denying character".

Mr Renwick recommended that the university's chancellor made a public apology to New Zealand's Jewish community "for the pain and anguish that Jews suffered in the course of Mr Kupka's doctoral candidature".

He also said that the university should develop a policy on ethical standards in research and require doctoral applicants to get ethical approval for research involving human subjects before confirming their enrolment.

Vice-chancellor Bryan Gould said the university would act on the recommendations.

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