Arthur Butz

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Arthur Butz
Bornc. 1933 (age 85–86)
ResidenceIllinois, United States
NationalityUnited States
Alma materMIT
University of Minnesota
Known forHolocaust denial, Butz Algorithm
Scientific career
FieldsElectrical Engineering
InstitutionsNorthwestern University

Arthur R. Butz is an Associate Professor of electrical engineering at Northwestern University, United States, and best known as the author of The Hoax of the Twentieth Century, a Holocaust denial publication. He achieved tenure in 1974 and currently teaches classes in control system theory and digital signal processing.

Education and career[edit]

Butz attended the Massachusetts Institute of Technology from which he received both his Bachelor of Science and, in 1956, his Master of Science degrees. In 1965 he received his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota.[1] His doctoral dissertation considered a problem in control engineering.

Butz invented the algorithm which bears his name and was published in 1969.[2] It provided a means for computing Hilbert's space-filling curve. This algorithm advanced certain computer search techniques and has certain other applications. Butz is also the author of numerous other technical papers.[3]

Book controversy[edit]

In 1976, Butz published The Hoax of the Twentieth Century: The Case Against the Presumed Extermination of European Jewry, which argues that the Holocaust was a propaganda hoax.[4][5] In 2017 removed the book along with other holocaust-denying books from its US and UK sites.[6][7]

Faculty reaction[edit]

In 2006, sixty of Butz's colleagues from the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science faculty signed a censure describing Butz's Holocaust denial as "an affront to our humanity and our standards as scholars".[8] The letter also called for Butz to "leave our Department and our University and stop trading on our reputation for academic excellence."[8]

University President Henry Bienen issued the following statement:

Northwestern University Associate Professor Arthur Butz recently issued a statement commending Iranian President Ahmadinejad's assertion that the Holocaust never happened. Butz is a Holocaust denier who has made similar assertions previously. His latest statement, like his earlier writings and pronouncements, is a contemptible insult to all decent and feeling people. While I hope everyone understands that Butz's opinions are his own and in no way represent the views of the University or me personally, his reprehensible opinions on this issue are an embarrassment to Northwestern.

There is no question that the Holocaust is a well-documented historical fact. The University has a professorship in Holocaust Studies endowed by the Holocaust Educational Foundation. Northwestern offers courses in Holocaust Studies and organizes conferences of academic scholars who teach in areas relating to the Holocaust. In addition, Northwestern hosts a summer Institute for Holocaust and Jewish Civilization. And most recently, a fellowship in the political science department has been established in my name by the Holocaust Educational Foundation. In short, Northwestern University has contributed significantly to the scholarly research of the Holocaust and remains committed to doing so.

Butz is a tenured associate professor in electrical engineering. Like all faculty members, he is entitled to express his personal views, including on his personal web pages, as long as he does not represent such opinions as the views of the University. Butz has made clear that his opinions are his own and at no time has he discussed those views in class or made them part of his class curriculum. Therefore, we cannot take action based on the content of what Butz says regarding the Holocaust - however odious it may be - without undermining the vital principle of intellectual freedom that all academic institutions serve to protect.

Henry S. Bienen


According to the Anti-Defamation League, many of Butz's arguments were thoroughly debunked in Deborah Lipstadt's 1993 book Denying the Holocaust, and in John C. Zimmerman's 2000 book Holocaust Denial: Demographics, Testimonies and Ideologies.[10]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "He still teaches, students still squirm". Retrieved 30 November 2011.
  2. ^ A. R. Butz, Convergence with Hilbert's space filling curve, J. Comput. Sys. Sci., vol. 3, May 1969, pp 128-146.
  3. ^ "Google scholar search for Arthur R. Butz".
  4. ^ Geri Yonover (2000). "Anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial in the academy : a tort remedy". In DeCoste, F. C.; Schwartz, Bernard (eds.). The Holocaust's Ghost: Writings on Art, Politics, Law, and Education. University of Alberta Press. p. 329. ISBN 978-0888643377. Retrieved 7 October 2017.
  5. ^ Noami Schaefer Riley, The Faculty Lounges and Other Reasons Why You Won't Get the College Education You Paid For, Lanham, Maryland: Ivan R. Dee, 2011, p. 33
  6. ^ Times of Israel. "Amazon UK Removes 3 Holocaust Denial Books from Sale." March 9, 2017
  7. ^ Ziv, Stav (6 June 2017). "Under pressure, Amazon stops selling Holocaust-denial books". The Jewish Chronicle. Retrieved 17 June 2017.
  8. ^ a b Elizabeth, Campbell (February 17, 2006). "Students, faculty oppose Butz with petitions". The Daily Northwestern. Retrieved 2009-02-22.
  9. ^ "Statement Regarding Associate Professor Arthur Butz". February 6, 2006. Archived from the original on May 1, 2007.
  10. ^ "Arthur Butz" (PDF). Anti-Defamation League. Archived from the original (PDF) on 14 July 2018. Retrieved 14 July 2018.

External links[edit]