College rejects Shoah denier

Auschwitz inmates ‘enjoyed swimming pool and water polo’, UCL fellow claims

A university has withdrawn a researcher’s fellowship after he published an article claiming that the gas chambers of Auschwitz never existed.

Nicholas Kollerstrom, an academic specialising in astronomy, posted the article, The Auschwitz “Gas Chamber” Illusion, on the website of the revisionist Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust.

He claimed that only one million Jews died in the war and that “the only intentional mass extermination program[me] in the concentration camps of WW2 was targeted at Germans”.

Dr Kollerstrom, 61, an honorary research fellow at University College London until Tuesday, stood by the claims this week, but expressed surprise that they had caused offence.

And he insisted the university “had not actually told me what’s so terrible about the article”.

He complained that he had been accused of “thought-crime” after spending months researching it.

And he added: “If a smaller number were gassed, then surely the Jewish community should be pleased that it wasn’t so ghastly.”

He wrote: “Let us hope the schoolchildren visitors are properly taught about the elegant swimming-pool at Auschwitz, built by the inmates, who would sunbathe there on Saturday and Sunday afternoons while watching the water-polo matches; and shown the paintings from its art class, which still exist; and told about the camp library which had some 45,000 volumes for inmates to choose from, plus a range of periodicals; and the six camp orchestras at Auschwitz/Birkenau, its theatrical performances, including a children’s opera, the weekly camp cinema, and even the special brothel established there.”

Dr Kollerstrom, of St John’s Wood, North West London, said he prefers to call himself a revisionist rather than a denier. Revisionists, he said, “want to look at European history without quite so much hate and bitterness”.

He also claimed he was the victim of “a calumny” by bloggers who had accused him of far-right sympathies and posted on the internet an image doctored to show him in Nazi uniform.

“I have some very good Jewish friends and have never had the slightest interest in the Nazi movement,” he said. “I never go to Germany. I have always belonged to things like the Green Party, CND and Respect.”

A UCL spokesman said: “The views expressed by Dr Kollerstrom are diametrically opposed to the aims, objectives and ethos of UCL, such that we wish to have absolutely no association with them or with their originator.

“We, therefore, have no choice but to terminate Dr Kollerstrom’s research fellowship with immediate effect.”

A source at the university also said that there had been concern at opinions Dr Kollerstrom had expressed regarding conspiracy theories over the July 7 2005 London bombings and the terror attacks of September 11, 2001. His areas of research include Newtonian theory and the 19th-century British discovery of Neptune. He is also the author of a yearly guide to Gardening and Planting by the Moon, which contains chapters on “Using the Star Zodiac” and “The Moon and Crop Yield”.

Here is an extract from one of his postings on the CODOH website:

“Zyklon-B was used at Auschwitz, as an insecticide. It was vital in attempting to maintain hygiene that mattresses be deloused. Cyanide gas was absorbed on to clay-type granules, designed to make the deadly gas as ‘safe’ as it could be.

“If you go to Auschwitz today, you can’t see any authentic gas chambers. You see stone huts, and experts have testified that they could not have been used to gas people, owing to problems in sealing them up (Zyklon-B released its cyanide gas rather slowly).”

In another, he wrote:

“The verdicts of Nuremberg were made final and binding for the post-war FRG [Federal Republic of Germany]. Germany has since paid a hundred billion Deutschmarks to Israel by way of Holocaust-compensation — clearly, that needs to be refunded.

“Germany should take the advice of Iranian leader Ahmadinajad and stop paying it, because that funding provides undue motivation for holocaust ‘memories’. Germany is helping to maintain the holocaust legend, by thus aiding the state of Israel.”

    Last updated: 4:31pm, May 13 2008