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A New Zealand historian whose work denied the existence of gas chambers at Auschwitz was appointed dean of a key British defense school.

Joel Hayward was appointed dean of the Royal Air Force College at Cranwell last year, Britain’s Jewish Chronicle revealed last Friday. Britain’s Prince William currently is training at the college to be a pilot.

Hayward, 44, became infamous in New Zealand after his 1993 masters’ thesis on the historiography of Holocaust denial prompted furor in the local Jewish community, which demanded unsuccessfully that Canterbury University revoke his degree.

Once described by notorious British Holocaust denier David Irving as “New Zealand’s leading Holocaust historian,” Hayward’s thesis was subject to an inquiry by Canterbury University.

Although its report in 2000 found that Hayward’s conclusions about the Holocaust were “seriously flawed,” it did not cancel his master’s degree. Hayward later issued an apology, saying he “regretted working on such a complex topic without sufficient knowledge and preparation.”

Hayward claims Jewish descent through his grandmother and said he was involved in pro-Israel organizations and campaigns against anti-Semitism, according to the report in the Jewish Chronicle.

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