BBC caught in row over payment to academic who denies gas chambers

By Leon Symons, June 13, 2008

A disgraced academic sacked as an honorary fellow by a London university for claiming that the gas chambers of Auschwitz never existed is to have his views questioned in a BBC television programme.

Disgraced academic Nicholas Kollerstrom

Nicholas Kollerstrom was this week helping to make an edition of the BBC2 programme The Conspiracy Files when he became embroiled in a row over whether or not he was being paid for his participation.

Dr Kollerstrom had been dismissed by University College London in April after publishing a paper that claimed it was impossible for there to have been gas chambers at Auschwitz. His paper was subsequently reproduced on the website of the Iranian-backed Press TV.

This week it emerged that Dr Kollerstrom was the subject of one programme of a new series to be broadcast in the autumn. The BBC series will examine a number of conspiracy theories and theorists — of whom he is one — and the views they express on major terrorist attacks. The programme will deal mainly with Dr Kollerstrom’s theories about the 2005 7/7 bombings in London, in which 52 people died.

According to a report in the Daily Telegraph, Dr Kollerstrom believed that the four suicide bombers were “innocent patsies” of the British, American and Israeli secret services. He admitted in the article that he had contacted the family of one victim of the No 30 bus bomb and questioned whether their daughter was actually there.

However, a BBC spokesman said:  “He is also going to be challenged about the paper he wrote about the Holocaust.”

The spokesman said that Dr Kollerstrom had been paid only a minimal amount in expenses.

“The series investigates whether there is any truth in the many conspiracy theories that have grown up around terrorist attacks.

“Nicholas Kollerstrom advanced a number of theories about these attacks which will be investigated in depth by the BBC. His view of the Holocaust will be scrutinised in the programme,  and he has not been paid by the BBC.”

The spokesman said the programme was still in the course of being made, so it was not possible to say how Dr Kollerstrom responded to the charges.

    Last updated: 2:16pm, June 17 2008