interviewed in Tehran
Prof Robert Faurisson interviewed by an Iranian reporter
outside the Paris courtroom
Prof Faurisson comments on the appeal verdict in his Sahar case
click here for a report on the Faurisson-Badinter case
news from Italy - university closes campus in effort to gag Faurisson
Tehran, December 13, 2006
Interview with Professor Robert Faurisson at the Guest House of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Islamic Republic of Iran
Hello Professor Faurisson, and thank you for granting me this interview.
Hello. It’s I who thank you for your willingness to put questions.
Professor, may I ask what your reasons were for deciding to take part in this conference in Tehran on the Holocaust on December 11th and 12th, 2006?
It’s because I know of no other country, no place where a conference on this subject could welcome me. Even in the United States the holding of such a conference would be risky; to begin with, upon arrival on American territory any foreign revisionist could well find himself being sent straight back to where he’d come from. In France, any similar gathering would be out of the question. I don’t see a single European country that would tolerate a public conference or debate on the “Holocaust”. In Germany, your country, the prohibition of any form of revisionism is draconian. Canada, Australia and New Zealand are merciless. Furthermore, it may be that in other parts of the world some countries are indifferent to the matter. Thus it was an altogether unexpected bit of luck that Iran should offer to host an international seminar on the “Holocaust” that, for once, would be open to all comers. It was not actually a revisionist conference but, as indicated by the title (“Review of the Holocaust: Global Vision”), a new look at the “Holocaust” from a comprehensive viewpoint and not a biased or fragmentary one. I didn’t think this could come about in my lifetime.
What goal have you been looking to achieve in coming here?
I want to make public what the mainstream media of the Western world stubbornly conceal. When those media speak of revisionists, it’s to insult us or ascribe to us ideas that we’ve never expressed. For example, they readily assert that the revisionists are people who claim the German concentration camps never existed. That’s putting sheer nonsense in our mouths. Unhappily the nonsensical assertion, amongst the French in any case, is widespread. On this score, the French in general have the idea that the revisionists are lunatics who go so far as to deny the obvious and this is why, coining a barbarism, they call us “négationnistes” (“denialists”).
Have you the impression, at the end of this gathering, that you’ve achieved your goal?
In part. The world has been able to note that we exist and that we can conduct ourselves peaceably and courteously with people who don’t share our convictions. Time was wanting for any real debate. And then I suppose the media will relate virtually nothing of the content of our papers. They’ll keep silent about our arguments and discoveries. To obtain a real debate we’ll need a new conference, on condition that our opponents don’t shy away from taking part. I must say that, for an instant, I was able to have the beginnings of a public confrontation with a professor who was hostile to revisionism, and that this confrontation turned dramatically to our advantage. I’ll tell you about it a bit later on, if you like.
There’ve been, above all, the echoes made by this conference throughout the world. It has provoked vehement protests, starting yesterday in Washington with a statement by White House spokesman Sean McCormack denouncing an Iranian regime that “perversely seeks to call the historical fact of those [Nazi] atrocities into question and provide a platform for hatred”. Then it was in Brasilia that a government had its say in the matter with an official protest. Then in England. Then, at the UN, Kofi Annan gave tongue. The Vatican as well. According to all these authorities, there are no grounds for asking oneself questions about the “Holocaust” of the Jews. The “Holocaust” took place and that’s that.
Dr Gholam Vatandoust
But I’ve promised you that example of the beginnings of a public confrontation. Here it is. That match of yesterday pitted me against an Iranian professor from Shiraz University, who also teaches at the University of the State of Washington (USA); his name is Gholam Vatandoust. At one point in his presentation he dared to say that the “Holocaust” was “fully documented”, that is, wholly confirmed by valid documentation. Then, after his talk, when the audience was able to put questions, I asked this professor to name me a document, and I insisted on the fact that I didn’t care to hear about a set of documents; I wanted just one. He started answering by saying how Churchill, in his memoirs, had denounced the Nazi atrocities. I pointed out that never had Churchill mentioned the “gas chambers” and that such was the case as well with Eisenhower, de Gaulle and others of their stature. I reminded him that what I was waiting for was the designation of a document. I had him note that Winston Churchill, in the remarks alluded to, was a politician expressing his sentiments. However, I was not looking to know anyone’s sentiments, be they even those of a personality like Churchill. At that point, the Iranian professor believed he’d come up with another argument. He told me it would be enough to accompany him to the American National Archives, where I should find documents. This wasn’t an answer since, again, I was demanding to hear of but one document. Just then the situation reminded me of the story of the angler and the big fish. An angler boasts of recently making an extraordinary haul, a truly miraculous catch, and, when I ask to see the fish, retorts: “How’s that? Are you calling my word into doubt? If you’re a doubting Thomas and won’t grant me your trust, I can show you the place where I caught that fish.” Obviously my reply will be that the place doesn’t interest me: the fish does. Let him show me it! Thus, “Show me or draw me a Nazi gas chamber!” That’s what I’ve been asking for ages.
I told this professor that I was familiar with those National Archives. I’d even consulted them at three different places: in Washington proper, then, not far from there, in Suitland and at the opulent installation of College Park. In short, I was getting no answer to my request. The man made three more vague attempts, all equally futile, and part of the audience, noticing how decidedly unable he was to respond, interrupted the verbal jousting with laughter and applause. This morning I had the occasion to meet him. I found much humbler than yesterday and he exhibited a lively curiosity about an argument that he seemed to be just discovering. We exchanged addresses and perhaps our discussion will continue. I also had two brief talks in private with one of the six anti-Zionist rabbis who’d come to take part in the proceedings: he was from Britain and appeared surprised but not shocked by the findings of revisionist research. Finally, I had a short and cordial exchange with an Austrian chief rabbi.
It seems that another participant, Viktor Nadein-Rayevsky of the Russian Academy of Sciences’ Institute of World Economy and International Relations, said at some point: “Faurisson demands documents, but some very important events have occurred which haven’t left any documents. In these cases, no document can be produced.” I’d like to know what these “very important events” can be to which no document attests!
I think he was talking about the Khmer Rouge.
Perhaps. But then, I’m very sorry! We possess a large number of documents or alleged documents on the subject. I’ll recall here the meaning of the term “document”. In general, a document is something written, but it may also be a material object. “Document” comes from a Latin verb signifying “that which tells, which teaches you something”. A knife on a table, a chair, a room, a building can all have the value of a document. It is altogether normal that, for example, a great mind such as Fustel de Coulanges (1830-1889), who, for us French, is the founder of scientific history, should have adopted a motto like “No documents, no history”.
French historian Fustel de Coulanges
"No documents, no history"
I’ve just given you the example of two speakers who disputed what the revisionists have concluded after completing their research work. I insist on this. People are quick to call us “négateurs” (at least the word is French) or “négationnistes” (a lapse into barbarism). These two words mean that revisionists are persons who deny obvious facts. They would seem, in a way, to be inspired by the Devil. As in Goethe’s phrase, we revisionists would be partisans of “the spirit that ever denies”, wouldn’t we? In reality, we deny nothing at all; simply, after completing our research work, we challenge certain affirmations and come forth with our own findings. Galileo “denied” nothing but, at the end of his labours, he stated that a certain idea, generally admitted, was wrong and that another idea was right.
Can you sum up the substance of your own contribution to the conference?
My talk was on “the victories of revisionism”, in other words the concessions that the antirevisionists have over the years been forced to make to us. I recommend that people consult the text itself, which I entitled simply “The Victories of Revisionism” and in which I provide a selection of twenty instances of such victories. They run from 1950 to 2004, and some of them are quite dramatic. Unfortunately the general public know nothing of it all because we have no access to the media.
An example, if you please, of these victories?
I could cite the case of Jean-Claude Pressac. For years, that protégé of the Klarsfeld couple had presumed to state he’d discovered proof of the “Nazi gas chambers’” existence. A book of his, in 1993-1994, was laden with praise throughout the big media. In 1994 I replied with a booklet that earned me new criminal proceedings. Happily I got Pressac subpoenaed to appear at the trial. This was in May 1995, in Paris. His collapse under examination was spectacular. He never got back up again. To her credit, Valérie Igounet, a French historian hostile to revisionism, reproduced in her 2000 book Histoire du négationnisme en France a sort of act of surrender signed by Pressac. The latter, in effect, had ended up admitting that the dossier on the German concentration camps was “rotten” — his word, that — with too many lies. He even added that a definitively “rotten” dossier had been got up around wartime suffering that was all too real and — in his own phrase — that dossier was “bound for the rubbish bins of history”.
Surprising! What became of Pressac?
His Jewish friends, of course, disowned him. He died in 2003, aged 59. The media’s silence was total. Pressac is one of the host of people who have proved unable to take up the challenge I launched back in the 1970s. At that time I’d demonstrated how the case for the existence of the alleged Nazi gas chambers ran into some radical impossibilities. The Leuchter Report and the Rudolf Report, not to mention a few other reports or views expressed by men of science, subsequently confirmed my demonstration.
Here, in Tehran, you began your talk with a word of warning about the photographs said to be of Nazi atrocities. Why?
Because people’s minds are steeped in them. In the business of lying propaganda nothing’s more simple and effective than the use of photographs. You don’t even need any complicated montages. It’s enough to show images of the sick, the dying or the dead and, in relation to these, speak of the killed, the murdered or the slaughtered. Ordinary decent folk will be taken in. They’ll feel revulsion, indignation, anger. They’ll no longer see what’s in front of them (the dead) but only what’s been put into their minds (the killed). They’ll become fixated on it. They won’t take time to think things over. In the area of false massacres the procedure stays unchanged. The alleged massacres at Auschwitz are, from this point of view, comparable, relatively speaking, to all the alleged massacres that may be conveniently blamed on the defeated side of any conflict, be it at Andersonville (alleged extermination camp of the American Civil War), Timosoara (Romania) or Kuwait City. Corpses of women and children will do the trick especially well.
It’s the procedure that, in 1945, was resorted to by the Americans and the British, on the one hand, and by the Soviets on the other hand. Teams of photographers or cameramen enter such or such German camp at the moment of its liberation. The first step is to have everything photographed or filmed. The second is to set aside for later use, after selection, only the most pitiful or revolting images, notably from the hospital barracks or their vicinity; pains will particularly have been taken to get images of the typhus-sufferers, veritable walking skeletons. The third step is to prepare commentary that will lead the public to believe the German commandants and guards had purposely reduced those poor wretches to such a state, as they were quite simply carrying out a policy of physical extermination of the detainees. Exceptions aside, the photographs of some very large groups of healthy-looking inmates, jubilant at being freed, will be hidden away. It will not be revealed that, in these camps, there could well exist for the benefit or use of the inmates, as was the case at Auschwitz, vast kitchens and all sorts of sanitary, medical, dental or surgical facilities, bakeries, post offices, workshops, places for artistic or musical recreation whose mere presence renders implausible, at the least, the existence of any intent whatsoever on the part of the Germans to exterminate those inmates. On the contrary, with the propagandists, a scalpel will fraudulently be shown as proof that people were killed or tortured; a disinfection gas chamber will become proof that people, and not vermin, were gassed; a can of Zyklon-B, a disinfection or anti-infestation substance (Entseuchung, Entwesung) that was, accordingly, used to preserve lives against certain deadly diseases or epidemics, will become proof that the Germans employed it to suppress human life. The real horrors of all those camps were the overcrowding, the close quarters and the violence incidental to detention in such circumstances (“men are like apples: the more they’re heaped on top of each other, the more they rot”), the prison violence, the hunger, the harsh weather, the diseases, the epidemics. Revisionist author and activist Paul Rassinier told of all this very well indeed. Thus, at times, many inmates were going through hell.
You brought up, in particular, the British propaganda about Bergen-Belsen…
Yes. Winston Churchill’s compatriots achieved quite some feat there. It’s what I call the “Bergen-Belsen bulldozer job”. In April 1945, that camp, overcrowded, ravaged by epidemics coming from the East, famished, deprived of water in recent days due to the Anglo-American bombing raids, had become a veritable den of infection. For this reason the Germans sent out a delegation to Montgomery’s approaching troops to warn them of the state of things there (and probably of the risks for everyone, including the civilian population, should the internees all be immediately released without any screening). The British agreed to cooperate with the Wehrmacht, but not with the SS, in order to attempt to remedy the situation. Then they saw fit to open the numerous common graves, count the bodies and finally, pile those bodies into great, deep ditches. To push all the corpses towards the ditches they used a bulldozer. In a film shot on site we are shown the bulldozer in action. A selection of these images has been passed on to posterity, notably thanks to the documentary (documendaciary?) Night and Fog (1955). Millions of viewers have believed that here they’ve seen proof of the Germans’ killing their captives, day after day, on an industrial scale. Very rare indeed must be those who’ve been able to make out that the bulldozer driver is a British soldier and not a German soldier. In 1978 a book published in South Africa with the aim of thwarting any revision of the “Holocaust” presented a still photo of the bulldozer and the bodies but not without “cutting off” the driver’s head: the obvious intent was to have us believe the driver was German.
The corpses of victims of epidemics at Bergen-Belsen being cleared by a British soldier - propaganda has influenced many to believe that such photos are "evidence" of "Holocaust" atrocities
Moreover, with time, in the minds of some, amongst whom Maurice Druon of the Académie française, “that” bulldozer, in the singular, has, of course, become “those” bulldozers. One could go on and on listing the very crudest procedures of this propaganda rooted in atrocity stories. Thus it is that we’re cunningly shown piles of shoes and eyeglasses or heaps of hair as if they were evidence that the people they came from were gassed; here the propagandists are sure to avoid reminding us that, in a Europe subjected to blockade and reduced to general penury, nothing was thrown away: everything was recovered and recycled, including hair, which served a particular purpose in the textile industry. There were countless workshops recycling leather, glass, metal or wood, both in the camps and in the towns and villages. The “suitcase job” is also worth noting. A very well-known photograph shows us, at Auschwitz, suitcases carefully stacked and presented as the pieces of luggage on which each doomed owner had taken the trouble to write his or her name and address before being sent to the gas chamber. However, a close look shows that the names and addresses are all written in the same hand and with the same white substance. Consequently, here it is a question, in reality, of a task performed at the entrance of every detention centre: new prisoners’ belongings are tagged and registered by the prison clerks. Thus had Marcel Bloch-Dassault, long after the war, been able to receive from Germany the wallet confiscated from him upon entry at Buchenwald. One evening he could be seen, on French television, exhibiting that wallet, opening it and taking out the four-leaf clover that was in it at his arrival in the camp. That said, there’s no doubt the German authorities must have drawn from the vast stores and confiscated effects to distribute some of them to the civilian population ravaged by the bombings and deprived of everything.
Wasn’t it at Bergen-Belsen that Anne Frank and her sister Margot died?
Yes, in late February or early March of 1945. They died of typhus. Still long after the war the official truth had it that that they’d been gassed at Auschwitz, a camp where they effectively spent some time before their transfer to Bergen-Belsen. Their fate makes them deserving of pity. But a good deal more pitiable still was the fate of the German civilian populations killed or burned alive by the Anglo-American bomber squadrons. A German man had the idea, after the war, to consult a book with the register of those killed in the bombing of the city of Würzburg in the night of March 24, 1945 alone; in that list of more than 5,000 he noted, I think, 128 women or girls bearing the Christian name Anne or a closely associated one. There’s hardly much talk of those women or girls systematically killed solely for being German, is there?
Do you think that the National Socialist regime committed crimes against the European Jews?
That regime did not pursue, with regard to the Jews, any criminal policy. That said, some crimes were indeed committed, especially in wartime, and they were what are generally called “excesses”. Crimes of this kind were either against Jews as individuals or against Jews taken in groups, for instance, in the course of a military operation or indeed during reprisals. Still, if one looks closely, nothing should distinguish those crimes from the odious acts that the victors perpetrated against, for example, Germans or Japanese. I am now going to insist on a fact that’s important and that even the revisionists don’t exploit enough. We have proof, we’ve had it ever since the Nuremberg trial, that soldiers, officers and functionaries, tried by the military tribunals or courts martial of the Third Reich, were, during the war, sentenced to death and executed for the murder of a single Jewish man or woman. One day in the Ukrainian town of Marinka, the mayor, who happened to be a “Volksdeutscher”, an ethnic German, and who had been appointed mayor probably because he spoke German, killed a local Jewess. Brought before a military tribunal, he was condemned to death and shot. I’ll come back to his case.
We have the example of a young German lieutenant in Budapest who, upon entering a Jewish woman’s house with his men, saw a radio set — forbidden to Jews — and wanted to take it away, along with some jewellery. With the woman threatening to go to the police, he ended up killing her. Court-martialled, he was sentenced to death and executed. As for the soldiers who’d accompanied him, they were given heavy prison terms.
Were they from the Wehrmacht or the SS?
They were from an air-defence unit. But, you know, this distinction made between the Wehrmacht and the SS is valid in certain cases and not at all so in others. For example, when in military action, they were on the same footing. But anyhow, if there had existed any order whatsoever to kill all the Jews simply because they were Jews, the Reich authorities wouldn’t have gone and shot someone who, breeching discipline, had killed a Jew or a Jewess.
According to you, are these few examples sufficient evidence for one to say that the whole Wehrmacht and the whole SS conducted themselves in such a manner?
Can a German order to kill the Jews — and I am saying to kill — have existed? It’s ruled out if I can, as I’m doing here, present you with even just a single case of a German military tribunal trying and condemning to death a single person, then having that person executed for the murder of a single Jew. I haven’t been speaking of “sufficient evidence” but of evidence. A piece of evidence is an element that one may take into consideration in order, at the end of proceedings, to hand down a decision. The judge has before him a set of evidence or testimonies and he draws his conclusions therefrom. Let’s begin at the beginning, that is with cases like those I’ve brought up here or with the one, which comes to mind just now, of a Luftwaffe man who, in southern France, was sentenced to death for “excesses” against a Jewish woman.
I personally experienced the German occupation. In 1939 I was ten years old and in 1945, when the Germans left France, I was fifteen.
Where did you live?
First, up until July 1943, in Marseille, then in Paris. Never ever could someone, catching sight of a Jew, have picked up a weapon and killed him with impunity. The consequences for the murderer would have been extremely grave.
It so happens that, since 1957, I’ve lived in Vichy. One night in August 1941 a little bomb went off in front of the gate of the synagogue, without injuring anyone. The culprits were found the next day: they were a certain number of young Doriotistes, French supporters of collaboration with Germany in the fight against “Judeo-Bolshevism”. They were quickly tried and convicted. I’ve found the text of the court decision. And, thanks to someone who, during the war, was in the police, I’ve learnt that one of the young participants in the “attack”, a “pupille de la nation”, that is, the son of a serviceman who died in the First World War, was so badly beaten inside Vichy police station that he subsequently died. Never during the entire war could a Frenchman have allowed himself to strike a Jew in the street. A Jew as such was of course considered by the State as a potentially dangerous citizen. He was living under a sort of probation. He might have good reason to keep on his guard. His movements and rights were subject to severe restrictions, but there was no lack of Jews who, all during the German occupation, continued to go about their business in plain view of everyone, even running their shops or practicing their trades. Still in Vichy, Marshall and Mrs Pétain’s regular chemist was a Jew by the name of Maurice Benhamou, and the kosher butcher’s in the rue Bardiaux seems to have stayed open throughout the Occupation. In May 1944 in Lyon an American bombing raid left a number of people dead. Amongst the services held for these victims was an ecumenical ceremony led by the Cardinal-Archbishop, with an imam and a rabbi by his side. But this does not, of course, cancel out the fact that in Vichy, Lyon and in all the rest of the country the Jews could experience deportation, and either return or not return afterwards.
Here you’re speaking of France?
Yes, of France under the Occupation.
And in the East, do you think things were the same?
If you have any specific cases, do present them. You’re German. I should readily invite any German to read an extraordinary document on the day-to-day life, during the whole war, of certain Jews in the very heart of the Third Reich. It’s the memoirs of Victor Klemperer. I possess all three versions: German, French and English. I like to compare the different versions of a book. In the case at hand, the most interesting version is the French one; instead of stopping at June 1945, it continues on to December of that year and contains a letter of January 1947 in which the author, quite obviously under the influence of the propaganda that had been about since the war’s end, piles up lies and exaggerations on what he’d really lived through and which he’d so accurately described, day after day, in his memoirs proper.
Jewish professor Victor Klemperer,
whose wartime experiences are detailed
in published diaries
Victor Klemperer, a Dresden Jew, is married to an Aryan woman. Very anti-Nazi, he recounts his torments. I’ll tell you the summit of those torments: being Jewish, he had to wear the Jewish star in public and he did a grand total of eight days in prison, in June 1941, for having broken the Civil Defence rules after curfew. He spent the eight days in the cells of Dresden police headquarters, where, he tells us, he was treated quite correctly. In his book he constantly stresses how the Germans he’s met on the tram, in the street, at the grocer’s, far indeed from ill-treating him or coming across antagonistic, have by and large shown themselves to be considerate and helpful. Vogel the grocer keeps coffee, a precious commodity at the time, aside for him. Civil servants are agreeable and polite. “Passers-by sympathised with the star bearers”. He has several “favourable experiences with the star […] There is no doubt that the people feel the persecution of the Jews to be a sin”. That said, he takes delight in Germany’s military disasters and in the bombing raids and is sad to note that it seems impossible to shatter the civilians’ morale. These memoirs (at least 5,000 typewritten pages) amount to a scathing refutation of Daniel Jonah Goldhagen’s thesis claiming that “ordinary Germans”, by their anti-Semitism, contributed to what is called “the Holocaust”.
You talk there of France, of Germany, but if one goes further eastward, it’s Poland, the Generalgouvernement, and then, in regard to that country and Russia, the “Einsatzgrupen” have to be discussed. What do you say here?
It’s above all in Russia that those police units operated. The war in the East was a savage one. The Soviet State had not signed on to the Geneva and Hague conventions and the Germans found themselves up against a partisan war. At the Soviet end there were no rights, no law. Thus could the Germans, when there’d been a group of partisans in a village, be led to destroy everything in it, even if there were women and children. German soldiers’ safety was the paramount concern. With Germany at war, what German wife, what father or mother would have agreed that a husband or son should be liable to be killed by an individual in civilian dress shooting from behind, then slipping away? In such moments there inevitably came about instances of military savagery, acts as are displayed in similar circumstances by all the armies of the world.
Coming back to my personal experience in France, I was able to see at work first the French soldier, then the German soldier, the Italian soldier, and, finally, the Canadian soldier, the British soldier and the American soldier. I, who, during the war, was so anti-German, must admit that I only ever saw extremely correct Germans; I can even mention some startling cases. When, afterwards, I saw the Americans arrive, I thought it was wonderful. Sure enough, many of them were likeable and well-behaved but there were also, amongst the American soldiers, NCOs and officers, some real louts. And then, on another score, I was especially distressed on seeing the horrors of the Big Purge. But here I’m getting off the subject.
You wanted to talk about the “Kommissarbefehl”, the “Einsatzgruppen” and Babi Yar.
Yes, three parts of one same subject. We’re told that there existed a “Kommissarbefehl”, described as an order to kill systematically the Soviet political commissars who oversaw the troops, and here the occasion is seized to add that the “Einsatzgruppen’s” task was to kill the Jews. It’s false. First of all, there never existed any “Kommissarbefehl” as such. Some historians have acquired a habit of designating by this term a set of documents concerning the sorting of prisoners or of certain civilians just behind the front. The Einsatzgruppen,established at the time of the Anschluss in 1938, were assigned the job of this sorting. On the immense Russian front, they were a mere 3,000 (three thousand), drivers and clerks included. At the outset of the military campaign, they were given rigorous instructions. People should read these instructions. They amount to saying that, as the rules of war are unknown to the Soviets, a strict sorting of prisoners will be in order. Certain captives will have to be executed forthwith because they are not soldiers but fanaticised political commissars who cannot be left in prisoner-of-war camps; others will perhaps be useful to Germany. One document, labelled USSR-014 at the Nuremberg trial, spells out eight categories of suspect persons who must, after sorting, be separated (Aussonderung) from the military or civilian prisoners. It’s interesting to note that the Jews are mentioned in eighth (and last) place; it’s specified in this order of October 29, 1941, that only a category of Jews is concerned. I quote: “8) Soviet Russian and Jewish intellectuals, insofar as they are professional revolutionaries or political activists, authors, editors, Komintern officials etc.”. With their customary dishonesty, the officials in charge of summarising the documents presumed to write that “those affected” “are above all Soviet commissars and other leading personalities, also Jews and members of the intelligentsia”; in their résumé they go so far as to write of “directives… for the ‘purging’ by special commandos of the prisoner-of-war camps”, whereas, let me repeat, for this document, it’s a matter of “sorting”. When the troops advance and take a town, the Einsatzgruppen, a kind of military police in the field, will have to try to check the identity of prisoners and civilians. This doesn’t mean that these people are going to be killed. Only some of them will be slated for execution. On the other side, with the Communists, no bones were made about executions. Therefore in first place came the political commissars. Neither here nor elsewhere did there exist any order to kill the Jews.
Then, if I understand you correctly, these instructions didn’t specify that all the political commissars were to be executed, even though the said commissars were mentioned first.
That’s right. Often, it seems, those commissars were Jews; however, even in their case, there was a sorting to be carried out. But you’ll understand well enough that, in practice, this meant there were prisoners that one had the right, in effect, to execute in contravention of the laws of war. Also, as you’re perhaps aware, the German military commanders did not want to act like the Red Army and, in the end, refused to follow through with the harshest provisions of the orders in question.
As for Babi Yar, no material investigation of the type carried out at Katyn during the war has been made there; nothing has surfaced to support the accounts generally heard on the subject, which seem implausible. I’ll come back to Babi Yar.
You wanted to add something about that town in the Ukraine, Marinka.
Yes, but first, at risk of surprising you, I give you notice that for a brief moment we’re going to leave the realm of history for that of fiction. Here is the drama that I imagine:
The German mayor of Marinka, recently sentenced to death for killing a Jewish woman, is going to be shot by firing squad. He is in a prison cell awaiting execution. It is night. He is in the throes of death. Just now, a man appears at the cell door and addresses him as follows: “You are a German whom German soldiers, in a short while, are going to shoot because you’ve killed a Jewess. However, be advised that, in a few years’ time, Germany will have been flattened. Her conquerors will prove ruthless. They’ll make a clean sweep of everything you’ve learnt and believed. They’ll make up a lie-ridden history of this war. They’ll impose the winners’ version. This new official historical truth, forced upon Germany and propagated nearly everywhere else in the world as well, will be that, during this war, Germans had every licence to do what you’ve done. Yes, its promoters will go so far as to claim that the Germans spent the better part of their time hunting down, torturing and slaughtering the Jews. They’ll state that Hitler had given the order to murder all the European Jews. They’ll add that, in order to succeed in a task of such colossal proportions, he’d had weapons of mass destruction built, weapons so diabolical that after the war not a trace will be found of them. Television sets, still so rare today in 1942, will be in every home; morning, noon, afternoon, evening and night, year in year out, they’ll be spreading this universal neo-truth that will be taught in the primary and secondary schools, the universities and even in the catechism, to your children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. A bit everywhere monuments will be put up and ceremonies instituted in honour of the new religion. The few who dare to dispute this dogma will be taken to court, thrown into prison, outlawed from society. And do you know who the most fervent apostles of this new creed will be, a creed of what will be called ‘the Holocaust of the Jews’? Don’t go searching! It will be the Germans themselves. In the very firing squad that’s going to shoot you there are perhaps some men who’ll survive the war and who, once they’ve got back home, will start believing the lie of ‘the Holocaust’. In any case, their children, their grandchildren and their great-grandchildren will believe it.” The mayor of Marinka will receive this message as an overwhelming shock. Indeed, he’ll go out of his mind as a result, and it’s a madman that they’ll be leading to the stake.
Such is the tragedy I imagine. I see in it the story line of a stage play or film to be made. This tragedy is that of Germany, whose very soul has been harried to death with the “Holocaust”.
Let’s leave fiction and come back to history. I’d like to dwell a little on the case of Babi Yar. Currently, certain Jewish organisations, sensing that the myth of the gas chambers is taking in water all around, are trying a diversion, asking us to turn our attention away from the alleged gas chambers and gas vans and towards the “Einsatzgruppen”. This is, for example, what a French Jewish personality like Jacques Attali has recently done in writing “The vast majority of Jews slain were killed by the individual weapons of German soldiers and policemen, between 1940 and 1942, and not by the death-works that were put into place afterwards”. Employing a brand new phrase, these Jews call this the “Shoah by bullets”! This “Shoah by bullets” is now summoned to replace the “Shoah by gas”.
And so it is that we’re being served up again with the “Babi Yar massacre”. At the Nuremberg trial, the place name “Babi Yar” (in fact, the name of a ravine outside Kiev) didn’t come up, but a certain document simply reported, in one sentence, that the Germans in Kiev, which they’d recently taken, had, following a spate of arson attacks blamed on NKVD agents, arrested, in a reprisal measure, all the city’s Jews, then, on the 29th and 30th of September 1941, had apparently transported a number of them in the direction of the locality known as Babi Yar to execute, in the end — take note of this figure: marvel at the precision — no fewer than 33,771! The document is neither dated nor signed. It’s one of a set selected by a lieutenant Walter Rothschild of London. In itself, what this sentence relates is implausible. The real massacre of Katyn, perpetrated by the NKVD and later imputed to the Germans, had left about 4,400 men — formally attested — dead, in over two months (March-April 1940). By comparison, in the Babi Yar massacre there would thus, in two days, have been nearly eight times more victims than at Katyn in two months. Such a fantastic butchery would have left countless traces and the surroundings themselves would have been turned upside down, if only by the efforts made in the forbidding task of mass burial, and then, as some will tell us, of unearthing followed by open-air cremations. However, the aerial photographs of the time show no signs of any such thing and no material evidence of this huge crime is available. These days, in the Ukraine, there’s a Roman Catholic priest who’s been getting a lot of attention, Father Patrick Desbois, a Frenchman and great friend of the Jews. His speciality consists in travelling the length and breadth of the land in search of “mass Jewish graves”. He has the good Ukrainian peasants of a given area informed that he’ll soon be calling at such or such locale and that he intends to garner testimonies about the slaughters of Jews by the Germans during the war. It’s wholly in the inhabitants’ interest to be able to boast that the environs actually possess such mass graves over which, afterwards, may be erected monuments that may in turn attract the odd foreign tourist. The “witnesses” get together and prepare a story. The priest then pays his visit and has his photograph taken with the country-folk as they point towards some spot or other. One may, to begin with, be astonished at the age of certain witnesses photographed thus far: they are quite plainly below the necessary age, which would normally be about 80. But there’s something more astonishing still: these supposed mass graves will not be dug open; no disinterment or any material verification will be carried out, all under the admirable pretence that the Jewish religion prohibits the touching of Jewish corpses; however, it’s enough to look in the Encyclopedia Judaica (1978) at the entry “Autopsies [plural] and Dissection [singular]” to see that there is no such prohibition at all. Only at a single location, Busk outside Lvov, have fifteen common graves been dug open, but none of the skeletons found there were examined and the sites were all covered over with a thick layer of concrete, meaning no authentication will be very possible in future! A curious way of respecting a body in accordance with Jewish law! The historian will thus have to be satisfied with what father Desbois, a clever man, tells us the witnesses told him. Hence, unverified numbers of unfound and unshown victims will be added up and, at the end, we shall be told that the Ukraine contains so many mass graves with so many Jewish victims. And all this under the seal of the respective representatives of the Roman Catholic Church, the “Yahad-in-Unum” association and “Zaka”, a group presenting itself as “dedicated individuals determined […] to accord the proper respect for the dead in accordance with Jewish law, heritage and tradition”. As at Auschwitz, tourism will stand some chance of thriving.
One question. You speak of “Shoah by bullets” and of documents. I myself think I recall seeing documents showing maps with sketches of coffins accompanied by the number of Jews executed at the spots thus indicated. Apparently, these would be documents of the SS or the Einsatzgruppen sent from the Russian front to Berlin. They would show how many Jews had been killed by Einsatzgruppen A, B, C and D. Is this not evidence? What’s your view here?
I know those documents and, in particular, the one with the coffins and the figures. It was the American author Arthur R. Butz who first dealt with them in a critical manner, in 1976, in his remarkable work The Hoax of the Twentieth Century. Too often it’s a question of suspect, unsigned documents, coming from Soviet sources. The one that you’re speaking of makes me think of the aerial photos of Auschwitz, published in 1979 by Brugioni and Poirier, two former CIA men. In these photos one can make out the Auschwitz crematoria with a naïve indication bearing the words “Gas Chamber[s]”. Here, on the sketches of coffins, an anonymous hand has written figures supposedly representing the totals of Jews slain. There’s no indication of any sources that might make possible a verification of the figures’ origins.
Supposed Auschwitz "evidence" produced by CIA propagandists
Have you noted how each time a common grave is discovered in Russia and trouble is taken to make an examination it’s found that it contains victims of Stalin and not of Hitler?
Finally, it’s a good idea, in any case, to be circumspect as concerns the evaluations sent by military men to superiors in Berlin.
One might say that, caught up in the war, the Germans who had to send reports to Berlin hadn’t the leisure to draw up, as in peacetime, impeccable reports with all the necessary signatures on them.
That’s merely a hypothesis on your part, for countless German documents of that era show they remained quite meticulous indeed.
A hypothesis, so be it, but isn’t it asking a bit too much, insisting on perfect evidence, which perhaps has never existed?
When there is no evidence to hand, one refrains from making accusations. One’s entitled to say “Rumour has it…” or “It seems plausible that…”, but not to go any further. To sum up here, I’d say that, as concerns the great massacres of Jews imputed to the Einsatzgruppen, I’m waiting for criminal investigations to be carried out, like those that were made for Katyn. And don’t let anyone come and tell us the corpses all went up in smoke! Even if those mounds of bodies had been burnt in the open air, that would have called for quite unlikely quantities of wood or fuel, and, what’s more, traces would be easy to find, if only in the form of teeth or bone fragments. Still today, bones of men of Napoleon’s army are found from time to time in Russia.
But what do you make of the trials and the clues that demonstrate the crime and allow a judgment to be made?
Clues are but apparent signs that simply render the existence of a thing probable. They’re what Jean-Claude Pressac, that friend of the Klarsfeld couple, called in his big American book “beginnings of proof” or “traces”. Let’s be wary of people who’ve got the idea that by adding a quarter-proof to a quarter-proof plus a half-truth, you obtain one proof. That practice was, it seems, employed in certain witchcraft trials of centuries past and it’s what was done in a number of court proceedings in the 20th century, especially against those modern-day sorcerers known as the satanic “Nazi war criminals”.
That’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying that these days there are trials where real proof cannot be produced but where clues suffice to try the accused.
Quite right. In France, for example, the judges can even invoke what they call their “innermost conviction”. A judge can do that, but not the historian. How many times has it been discovered, with the passing of time, that a judicial error was committed at some moment or other? In the particular instance of the gigantic case brought against Germany, I ask that no one be content with his or her “innermost conviction”. I demand proof, one single piece of actual proof. I note that the accusing historians like Poliakov and Hilberg, and a fair number of others, have wound up acknowledging that there is no proof. You’re well aware that Raul Hilberg, at first (in 1961), had the nerve to write that Hitler had given two orders to exterminate the Jews. He added that this extermination had been carefully organised from top to bottom within the chain of command. However, in 1983, under the revisionists’ pressure, he had to admit (and later, in 1985 at the first Zündel trial in Toronto, confirmed under oath) that there hadn’t been, after all, either an order, a plan or a budget. Then he fell back on the most pitiful of explanations: according to his new analysis, all had been done without an order and without a plan through “an incredible meeting of minds, a consensus-mind reading by a far-flung bureaucracy”, the bureaucracy of the Third Reich. I call that “invoking the workings of the (Jewish) Holy Spirit”.
May I give you still another point?
Personally, something that really struck me, speaking of false proof, was that solemn session at the UN, where American Defence Secretary Colin Powell was seen claiming to demonstrate the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. I can assure you that the revisionist I am perceived at the very instant that it was all a sham. Glaringly obvious. We laugh about it today but it’s disquieting that no one, there at the UN, should have risen to cry out his indignation and proclaim before the whole assembly: “I raise a solemn protest against this stunt of Mr Powell’s, who takes us for fools. We all know that, in the phial he’s brandishing, there’s surely nothing but some harmless liquid; here we’re just being served a cinematic ploy. We all know as well that, in the photographs projected on the screen, nothing but innocuous buildings have been shown, and that it’s laughable to write, again up on the screen, that those structures house weapons of mass destruction.” It’s quite precisely the same put-up job that in 1979 Brugioni and Poirier, those ex-CIA men, went in for when, showing us crematoria, they presumed to tell us those buildings housed weapons of mass destruction called “gas chambers”. Same sort of inscriptions, same crude lies.
Colin Powell holds up a model of a vial of anthrax while giving
"evidence" to the UN of Iraq's supposed WMD
To pick up on a question that I’ve already put, do you think the German National Socialist regime committed injustices towards the Jews?
You said “crimes” and here you say “injustices”. I don’t know how to qualify the measures that Germany was led to take regarding people whom, not without reason, she held to be hostile or potentially dangerous. Any nation at war may be led to take measures that will certainly be cruel for the families affected. If, tomorrow, war broke out between France and Italy, it’s obvious that the French government would intern or put under house arrest all Italians residing in France and that the Italians would act likewise with respect to the Frenchmen who happened to be in Italy.
So then, for you, Germany was at war with those whom one calls “the Jews”.
Yes, she was at war with “the Jews” just as “the Jews” were at war with Germany.
And if we take things to their logical conclusion when observed from a military viewpoint, at bottom, the totality of those potentially dangerous persons could have been put in concentration camps or kept under house arrest. But their numbers were such that it wasn’t practicable. Germany therefore decided to take measures which, as the war intensified, grew progressively harsher. Let’s take the example of the compulsory wearing of the star, from a certain moment and in certain parts of German-occupied Europe (in the southern zone of France, the Jews didn’t have to wear the star).
This measure amounted to placing the Jews under probationary supervision. But do note that it’s less cruel and far less of an exaction than locking families away in camps as the Germans did in certain cases and as the Americans and Canadians themselves did, not only with the Japanese on their territory, which was normal, but also with Americans and Canadians of Japanese origin. As for the reason why the Germans decided to implement the wearing of the star, it was above all with a view to ensure the German soldier’s safety. Many Jews belonged to groups of those whom the Allies called Résistants and whom the Germans, for their part, called terrorists. You can well imagine that the German soldiers weren’t going to look hard and close at other pedestrians in the street in an attempt to see whether they were walking near possibly dangerous individuals. That star warned them. In Paris, in the underground, where each train was made up of five carriages, the star-wearers had to get on the fifth carriage, in which the German soldiers weren’t allowed to ride.
According to you, was this treatment of the Jews just? Couldn’t it be argued that in France or Germany the Jews were well assimilated and that, for example, the links between the Jews of Paris and those of New York were, anyhow, not very strong?
It’s not a matter, strictly speaking, of a moral question but of military necessity. From a moral viewpoint I can tell you that the treatment of the Jews in Germany shortly before the war, at the time of Kristallnacht, seems to me unworthy, even though I understand the exasperation that the Germans could feel in the face of the growing number of Jewish provocations, the Jewish organisations’ ceaseless calls for a crusade against the New Germany and, most notably, the assassination in Paris of vom Rath, the embassy counsellor, by the Jew Grynszpan. Just as unworthy, in my eyes, was the fact that Goering should impose on the Jews a fine of a billion marks for the damage then caused. But, you know, “to judge is to compare” and, as concerns horrors of all kinds visited on minorities, no nation has the right to dispense lessons to others. As I’ve had occasion to say, every war is a butchery; the winner is a good butcher and the loser, a less good one; thus, at the end of a war, the winner may give the loser lessons in butchery but he’s not entitled to mete out lessons in rights, justice and virtue to him. Yet that is indeed what, at Nuremberg, the winners of the Second World War did to the losers, in proceedings of a rare hypocrisy.
But you do agree, after all, with the principle that international justice must be able to punish war crimes and, as it’s said today, “crimes against humanity”?
As a principle I’ll agree readily enough; but see how, in practice, it’s almost always, at the end of any war, the loser that this justice finds guilty. It’s a revolting spectacle, this hunting party of prosecutors and judges in black robes, all grouped around soldiers crushed by defeat who now see their conquerors parading about in a courtroom. The American army, although the bloodiest of all armies, never has any explaining to do before the international community. To come back to the Second World War, how can one allow that those who made alliance with Stalin should be able to address the least rebuke to those who made alliance with Hitler? Let’s suppose, taking up the usual comparison, that Stalin was the plague and Hitler, cholera; I don’t see how those who have, in reality, chosen the plague, can find fault with others for having, in reality, chosen cholera. What right had the French general Leclerc, who was more or less in American uniform, on May 8, 1945, when Germany had surrendered, to have a group of twelve or thirteen prisoners taken out of a hospital and shot without trial just for being in a more or less German uniform? Let’s point out that it was mainly from horror or fear of Soviet-style communism that so many young Frenchmen had signed up with either the Milice or the German army.
Do you justify the nature of the reprisals carried out by the German army in France?
Let’s talk about the bomb attacks and assassinations in France against the German occupation forces or French partisans of Collaboration. A large number of Germans died or were injured as a result of such attacks. There were also many acts of destruction against the means of transport and communication — for example telephone cables — , army barracks and depots, crop harvests; there were weapons trafficking operations, espionage for the Allies, aid to deserters, escape networks, there was the Communist propaganda calling for ever more bomb and sniper attacks. What could the German army officers in charge do? At first they had either the culprits themselves or hostages shot by firing squad. Then, they realised that the French population, on the whole, both strongly disapproved of the murders of German soldiers and felt considerable indignation at the reprisals made by the occupation forces. The Germans risked alienating this population. Thus, from a certain point, they preferred, in numerous instances, to apply deportation instead of execution. Towards the end, what with the big increase in Résistance attacks in the wake of the Allied landings in Normandy, they turned again to shootings, carrying out a large number of them. In France, the total number of persons shot by sentence of a German military tribunal or court martial seems to be situated, for the entire duration of the war, between 4,520 and 4,540, and not, as was stated at the Nuremberg trial, at 29,660. The Communists have long endorsed far greater figures: they haven’t shrunk from presenting their party as “the Party of the 75,000 firing squad victims”; for his part, Communist chief Maurice Thorez dared to tell Stalin, on November 18, 1947: “In France during the war, 350,000 Communists were shot by the Germans” (in the review Communisme, summer 1996, p. 47). In France, the number of Communists shot by firing squad was, in reality, a few hundred. When, in 1945, French troops occupied their part of Germany, they didn’t find themselves confronted with any armed, organised resistance bent on killing French soldiers. Otherwise they