Craig Heimbichner
Craig Heimbichner

State education official who penned antisemitic theories back at work

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UPDATED: April 28, 11:25 a.m.

A state education official whose history of promulgating antisemitic and 9/11 conspiracy theories was exposed back in February, and who was placed on paid administrative leave, will be reinstated to his position.

According to the Sacramento Bee, Craig Heimbichner, a California Department of Education employee who works in the charter schools division, was given his job back after a third-party investigation found no basis for disciplinary action. The newspaper was the first to investigate Heimbichner, prompting the state inquiry.

The Bee reported that during a call with reporters on April 23, Heimbichner said, “I wish to make it crystal clear that I denounce every form of antisemitism completely.” State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Thurmond said on the same call, “Obviously, if there was some evidence or circumstances otherwise, we’d be having a different conversation today.”

In a 2013 blog post titled “The House of Horrors” on the website Paranoia: The Conspiracy Reader, Heimbichner called the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., a “surreal chamber of horrors” serving to support “the creation and maintenance of the Israeli State for unquestioned purposes” and described Holocaust denier David Irving as a “world-famous historian.”

Heimbichner is also the author of the book “Blood on the Altar: The Secret History of the World’s Most Dangerous Secret Society” (2005) and “Ritual America: Secret Brotherhoods and Their Influence on American Society: A Visual Guide,” released in 2012. According to the Bee, the former was published by Michael A. Hoffman II, a a conspiracy theorist researcher whom the Anti-Defamation League calls “a Holocaust denier and antisemitic ideologue.”

When the writings first came to light, the regional ADL office in San Francisco said it was disturbed by the allegations “that a [CDE] administrator has a prolific history of promoting antisemitism, offensive Holocaust theories and hate-filled conspiracies” and encouraged a full investigation.

On Wednesday, the ADL’s S.F. office tweeted, “People promoting conspiracy theories or extremism don’t belong in govt service,” and urged the CDE “to review policies & procedures to ensure antisemitic conspiracies don’t find their way into leadership, let alone the classroom.” The tweet also included a link to the ADL’s “PROTECT Plan“, which aims to “address the overall increase in domestic terrorism, while protecting civil liberties” in light of the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol.

Heimbichner joined the CDE in 2002 and left in 2006. He rejoined in 2017 as part of the charter schools division. According to his LinkedIn profile, Heimbichner is also the owner and chief instructor of a martial arts studio in Sacramento.

CDE spokesperson Daniel Thigpen told J. that the investigation into Heimbichner’s conduct was “very thorough” and included “numerous interviews, a review of his published documents, previous statements and a consultation with subject matter experts.”

Thigpen said he was not aware of any legal action taken by Heimbichner after he was put on paid leave. The investigation itself will not be released to the public, he said, since it has to do with a personnel matter.

Gabriel Greschler

Gabriel Greschler was a staff writer at J. from 2019 to 2021.