Just who is
first published July 13 1998 - Gayssot Day
A pamphlet with a similar title, written by the brilliant political essayist who goes by the name of François Brigneau, appeared a few years ago in France. The present introduction will be a far more succinct answer than that found in Brigneau's book, but will try to keep to the idea that short need not mean incomplete.
Prof Robert Faurisson confronts the press after being banned from speaking at Teramo
To the general French public Robert Faurisson is "a revisionist," more often "the revisionist," as he is likely to be the only such personality of whom they have heard, at least the only one who has willingly lent his name to the historical revisionist movement. This point is important, for it may be worthwhile to recall that last year, when the doddering Roger Garaudy, currently a Moslem, had scandalised the "intellectual" public by re-circulating some key elements of Robert Faurisson's work (without bothering to mention this rich source), he was soon to be seen taking pains to distance himself from those historians whom the regime and its media have largely succeeded in passing off as mere "Nazi stooges," thus tools of the Devil, enemy of Abraham's god. By doing so Garaudy left some informed observers wondering whether the "philosopher" in his wisdom did not himself share this official view to some extent. Indeed he was later to stress repeatedly, at his subsequent criminal trial (yes, authors of books on history are prosecuted in France), his profound attachment and devotion to Abraham, his god, and his people. But all that is quite another matter.
On one score the public are for once right: Faurisson is the French revisionist. Just what revisionism in fact is, though, they are at a loss to say in a coherent manner. What do revisionists wish to revise? History? Does not "revise" mean "change"? Change is often a scary notion. What can be the point of the revision? The bulk of the population, fundamentally – necessarily – conservative, are bound to be suspicious. But what, then, of the "élite", the "intellectuals"? Is it not their job to ask questions about the past, the present, the future, everything? More on them below.
Back to the subject. Robert Faurisson is a retired gentleman and a scholar of the old school, that is to say a well-bred man of classical education who made a successful career in the University. A University man, well-rounded: a sporting man (tennis, skiing) and one not limited in his curiosity by the bounds of his formal fields of study or, for that matter, by anything else.
This free-wheeling curiosity was in 1960 attracted to the object that was later to win him renown, and to cause him dreadful tribulations of both a professional and physical nature: the official history of the Second World War, the aftermath of which formed then – and still forms now – the basis of the general political order in Europe and the world. For it was in that year that he chanced upon a piece published in the German newspaper Die Zeit, in fact a letter from one Dr Martin Broszat of the Institut für Zeitgeschichte in Munich, which stated that in the camp at Dachau nobody had been gassed to death. This affirmation flew in the face of the established version of the history of the war as officially laid down (a "fact of common knowledge") at the 1945-46 Nuremberg international show trial. During those proceedings the prosecution, in order to "prove" the truth of the Dachau gassing stories, had treated the court to a projection of an American "documentary" (propaganda) film, formally admitted as "genuine evidence": it in fact showed nothing more than a lone individual standing in a room which he described as a gas chamber in which a hundred people at a time had been regularly put to death.
A tourist party at Dachau - where historian Martin Broszat admitted that no-one was gassed to death - prompting Professor Faurisson's interest in the subject of alleged gassings
The Die Zeit letter thus touched on an aspect of the greatest possible importance, not just some minor detail. Very simply, the Nuremberg procedure was gravely flawed, for if it had blithely let false allegations of systematic mass-murder in one place pass as true, then the holdings of the tribunal in question must need some serious looking into as well. Likewise the version of the terrible events (the war itself) which that tribunal had solemnised by its verdicts. And Faurisson set about doing just that, sedulously and in great depth. By 1974 his present conclusion was solidly established: the "Holocaust" story was a farrago of disparate and contradictory eye-witness "testimonies" mounted against a background of vicious wartime hate propaganda.
With hindsight, we ourselves (and all the more easily our distant descendants, unless the world to come is peopled exclusively by mindless, senseless masses) may have no trouble in seeing the inclination to do this research as perfectly normal and desirable: the unprecedented destruction which had recently taken place on the continent, the enormous loss of life surely deserved all possible examination, from all reasonable points of view. Notably, if a systematic, mechanical mass slaughtering of civilians of a certain ethnic group had been carried out by one of the most cultivated and scientifically advanced nations on earth, nothing could be more natural than an urge to look into how this hellish deed had been planned and organised, how it had been done: with what means? Or so it seems to us rational observers.
But far from being exposed to a candid, albeit horrified world, the diabolical instrument of the racial extermination which the noble Allies had fought to stop, the mass-execution gas chamber in functioning condition, has (notwithstanding the public exhibition of alleged examples in various states of repair at the grounds of some camps) remained shrouded in mystery, a desired mystery at that: Grand Wizard Elie Wiesel himself has recently written (in All Rivers Run to the Sea) that it must be protected "from prying eyes," in other words, from rational examination. Thus the very thing that, in its murderous efficiency, is supposed to symbolise evil itself, this means of carrying out the systematic extermination of one people by another – a crime without precedent – and that is constantly used to remind the world of a modern-day martyrdom, on the one hand, and of the barbarous nature of yesterday's enemy, on the other, is left unexplained, undefined, literally a mystery.
Idem for the question of the mass-murder's organisation and execution. If there is no trace of any relevant military or administrative orders, this absence is put down plainly and simply to the supernatural, the diabolical: the main order did not need to be made either orally or in writing, but instead was issued and received by means of telepathy (Raul Hilberg's "incredible meeting of minds" in his statement under oath at the trial of the German-Canadian revisionist Ernst Zündel in Toronto in 1985).
Raul Hilberg - the Holocaust authority who could not produce evidence of an order to exterminate Europe's Jews, saying this must have emanated from an "incredible meeting of minds"
Such a statement in the world forum of historiography (Hilberg does pass for a prominent "international authority" in "Holocaust" studies) may itself easily be seen, by the clear-sighted, as an outright admission that the case for the reality of the "Holocaust" has little to stand on. For his part, Faurisson's observation is, simply put: "Yes, it's incredible, that is, unbelievable. So unbelievable, that I don't believe it!"
Here in France there have been two other such unwitting, monumental admissions on the part of the "authorities" (the "intellectual" and the legislative ones, respectively): the first, six years previous to Hilberg's 1985 pronouncement, the second in July 1990.
In 1979, 34 "intellectuals" (in fact, historians) who had got wind of the Lyon literature professor's inconvenient curiosity – he had after all finally succeeded, after countless attempts, in getting a piece published in their favourite daily, Le Monde – actually took it upon themselves to publish a nearly full-page advertisement, in that same paper, of their refusal to countenance the examination of the gas chambers and their functioning. The query "How had this happened?" was, they declared, unfit to be put, "since it had happened" (sic). One was expected to accept simply (and I use the word advisedly) that, during the war, diabolical forces had acted, and that no questions as to their workings were allowed. And this in 1979, not 1579. To a revisionist's, indeed to any honest, sober, non-partisan eyes, it surely ought to have seemed that the "system" felt that the game was up, and that it was time to exert some firm repression.
And repression was swift in coming. Faurisson was henceforth regularly prosecuted and convicted for making public the fruits of his labour. To date he has lost a good dozen criminal cases, all for historical revisionism. Since 1990, most of these have been brought against him under a law that Jean-Marie Le Pen has called the Lex Faurissonia, a statute promulgated on the 14th of July of that year with the aim of stemming a purported rising tide of racism and antisemitism. (For the occasion the government and media had even resorted to the shamelessly ostentatious exploitation of a curious vandalism incident in a Provençal Jewish cemetery.) It intends to do this by forbidding a most devilish practice abroad in the land: the questioning of the holy writ of Nuremberg.
If a rational mind refuses to entertain the notion of the divine, it necessarily has no time for the Devil either. It is with such a disposition that Faurisson has done his research into matters which he realised had simply not been thoroughly examined, or not examined in the least. Doubtless many others had wondered exactly how such awful things had come to pass, only to abandon the hypothesis of even the vaguest, shallowest research project, perhaps thinking: "Surely some experts must have taken care of the question at some time or other, this mass-gassing business in the midst of the '39-45 war." Robert Faurisson will be remembered – if, as I have remarked above, rational thought does not become extinct – as the man who, upon learning that that was not the case, himself insisted on examining these few, precise elements of recent history which have determined the political, intellectual, and (increasingly) cultural orientations of our world, and then proved that they were counterfeit.
Nevertheless, a western world grown largely weary of its old martyrdom and resurrection-based religion appears to be easily, steadily seduced by a new version which, unlike the old, has its kingdom set firmly in this world, and which accords special, near absolute rights and powers to the resurrected, in whatever land they (miraculously, of course) dwell: in Palestine, in Europe, or anywhere else.
Who the hell, then, is this Faurisson?
Prof Robert Faurisson and Lady Renouf after
the Sahar-1 trial in 2006
click here for a report on the Faurisson-Badinter case
latest news from Italy - university closes campus in effort to gag Faurisso