Nick Kollerstrom used to teach maths at Rudolf Steiner School Kings Langley, in the London area. He also wrote a book about teaching maths — through the study of crop circles. According to the review
The author, quite deliberately, does not discuss any of the possibilities as to how crop circles appear, leaving the reader to further investigate if they so choose. It certainly offers a lovely way to teach mathematics in addition to promoting students’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development and a must for any school library.
More importantly, though, Kollerstrom isn’t just a former waldorf teacher with a fascination for crop circles. He’s an anthroposophist and some of his work is presented here on the website of the science section of the Anthroposophical Society in Great Britain. He also holds some pretty peculiar — not to say abominable — views on Nazi Germany. When his viewpoints came to the knowledge of the University College London, they terminated his position as an honorary research fellow. Kollerstrom isn’t by far the only anthroposophist who happens to be a holocaust denier; there are several others, eg, Gennadi Bondarew, Bernhard Schaub, Willy Lochmann, Robert Mason, Jos Verhulst and Tom Last. As for Kollerstrom, after he was dismissed from the UCL, Nick Cohen penned an article about his case in The Guardian:
Dr Nicholas Kollerstrom is convinced that academics have punished him for a ‘thought crime’. The distinguished astronomer exercised his right as an intellectual in a free society to speak his mind. His university responded by stripping him of his research fellowship and declared that it wishes to have ‘absolutely no association’ with him.
Cohen offers a neat summary of Kollerstrom’s beliefs:
Once he was away from his scientific studies, Kollerstrom embraced them all. ‘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,’ he said of the Nazi genocide. ‘Let’s hope they are shown postcards written from Auschwitz, where the postman would collect the mail twice weekly.’
Denying the crimes of the clerical fascists of today comes easily to a man who can deny the crimes of the secular fascists of the 1940s. Kollerstrom has opined at length on how the 9/11 attacks on New York and the Pentagon and the 7/7 London bombings were not the work of the actual bombers, but of Western security forces acting on the orders of – you’ll never guess – their ‘Zionist masters’.
[…] although he perpetuates Nazi doctrine, Kollerstrom presents himself as a man of the left rather than the far right. He says that he is not a member of a neo-Nazi organisation, but an active supporter of the Green party, Respect and CND. Given the political gyrations of our times, he may well be telling the truth.
This post summarizes Kollerstrom’s views from a number of discussions concerning holocaust denial, conspiracies, et cetera. A post at the Liberal Conspiracy blog adds to the picture of Kollerstrom, who even makes an appearance in the comment thread. Unity writes:
Ordinarily I might just write Kollerstrom off as just another run of the mill conspiraloon and move on, were it not for the fact that he holds down a ‘day job’ as a research fellow at University College London and actively trades on his academic credentials when writing articles for CODOH’s ‘New Revisionist Voices‘ website, where he has, to date, published three articles; Britain – Pioneer of City Bombing, School Trips to Auschwitz and The Auschwitz ‘Gas Chamber’ Illusion. CODOH, which styles itself as the ‘Committee for Open Debate on the Holocaust’ – ‘open debate’ meaning open revisionism – also promotes the ‘work’ of the discredited revisionist ‘historian’, David Irving, and Ernst Zundel, both of whom Kollerstrom cites in his own articles.
Kollerstrom’s main line of academic work appears to be the history of astronomy, albeit that he has a notable sideline in publishing articles on astrology and crop circles, and an interest in pseudoscience is not at all an uncommon feature amongst ardent conspiracy theorists.
Unity also provides a fuller quote than Nick Cohen, including a discussion of Kollerstrom’s sources. Kollerstrom professed these hopes, apparently:
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 forty-five thousand volumes for inmates to choose from, plus a range of periodicals; and the six camp orchestras at Auschwitz/Birkenau, its the theatrical performances, including a children’s opera, the weekly camp cinema, and even the special brothel established there. Let’s hope they are shown postcards written from Auschwitz, some of which still exist, where the postman would collect the mail twice-weekly.
Kollerstrom’s reply to Unity’s post doesn’t actually get us anywhere meaningful; he seems to be labouring under some serious misconceptions, I’d say. (For example, the mass gassings, as far as I’m aware, didn’t take place in Auschwitz but in death camps which were pulled down before Germany lost the war [ie, the main camp of Auschwitz — I believe there was an extermination camp nearby, a facitlity which is sometimes referred to as Auschwitz — correct me if I’m wrong, please]. In another comment, he writes that gas was used for delousing the concentration camps: ‘The Zyklon-B worked very well in the Nazi gas chambers of WW2, for delousing mattresses etc, but no human being was put into these.’ But again, in the extermination camps, there was no need for mattresses. People were taken there solely to be killed, basically upon arrival. But about this, Kollerstrom says nothing. He just voices his ‘doubts’, seemingly the guy who only has a few ‘questions’… who doesn’t ‘buy’ the official story. And so forth. That’s perhaps the usual routine; I have little experience with these folks and more of the Kollerstrom variety doesn’t seem tempting.)
Kollerstrom also takes an interest in recent events — or more precisely, conspiracies regarding terrorist attacks of recent years. One of his more odious acts is described in newspaper London Evening Standard:
He has admitted he phoned the father of one victim to tell him how he believed the man’s daughter’s body had been planted at the site of the Tavistock Square bus bombing. The victim’s family has described the phone call and subsequent claims posted on a website as “very upsetting”.
The London bombings, believes Kollerstrom, were carried out by
the four bombers who […] were “innocent patsies”, set up by a combination of the British, US and Israeli secret services.
The last article by Kollerstrom published by an anthroposophic organisation is from the year 2008, according to UK Anthroposophy. It would be interesting to know more about his present status in anthroposophic circles. What are other anthroposophists thinking? Are they rejecting his views in silence? Do they believe that since this has nothing to do with anthroposophy — at least not on the surface — there’s no need to openly refute or reject Kollerstrom’s lunacy? Peter Staudenmaier writes:
Bondarew is scarcely alone. Further anthroposophist holocaust deniers include Bernhard Schaub, Nick Kollerstrom, Willy Lochmann, Robert Mason, and Jos Verhulst. A number of other anthroposophists, such as Michael Howell, Stephen Hale, and Carol Canning, have also publicly expressed excuses for holocaust denial similar to Last’s, and promote a variety of antisemitic conspiracy theories in anthroposophist terms. It is still relatively rare to find anthroposophists explicitly confronting and rejecting such views from their fellow anthroposophists.
In another post, he notes that
[Holocaust denial] is a genuine problem for anthroposophy, and one that isn’t really being addressed by the rest of the anthroposophist movement, by those anthroposophists who don’t deny the holocaust — Frank Smith, for example, takes the ‘ignore it and it will go away’ stance. In an important sense, it is a particularly disturbing instance of the broader anthroposophist predilection for conspiracy theories, combined with longstanding anthroposophist beliefs about Jews and Jewishness.