Arthur Butz

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Arthur Butz
Born c. 1933 (age 85–86)
New York City
Residence Illinois
Nationality American
Fields Electrical Engineering
Institutions Northwestern University
Alma mater MIT
University of Minnesota
Known for Holocaust denial, Butz Algorithm

Arthur R. Butz is an associate professor of electrical engineering at Northwestern University, and author of The Hoax of the Twentieth Century, a book denying the Holocaust. He achieved tenure in 1974 and currently teaches classes in control system theory and digital signal processing.


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. His doctoral dissertation considered a problem in control engineering.


Butz invented the algorithm which bears his name and was published in 1969.[1] It provided a means for computing Hilbert's space-filling curve. This algorithm advanced certain computer search techniques and has certain other applications. Professor Butz is also the author of numerous other technical papers.[2]

Book controversy

In 1976, Butz published The Hoax of the Twentieth Century: The Case Against the Presumed Extermination of European Jewry, which denies that Nazi Germany tried to exterminate the Jews during the Holocaust.[3]

Faculty reaction

In 2006, fifty 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".[4] The letter also called for Butz to "leave our Department and our University and stop trading on our reputation for academic excellence."[4]

University President Henry S. 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

See also


  1. A. R. Butz, Convergence with Hilbert's space filling curve, J. Comput. Sys. Sci., vol. 3, May 1969, pp 128-146.
  2. "Google scholar search for Arthur R. Butz".<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. 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
  4. 4.0 4.1 Elizabeth, Campbell (February 17, 2006). "Students, faculty oppose Butz with petitions". The Daily Northwestern. Retrieved 2009-02-22.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  5. "Statement Regarding Associate Professor Arthur Butz". February 6, 2006. Archived from the original on May 1, 2007.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links