Robert Faurisson

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Robert Faurisson
Born (1929-01-25) 25 January 1929 (age 85)
Shepperton, Surrey
Nationality French, British
Occupation Academic
Parents Jessica Hay Aitken

Robert Faurisson (born 25 January 1929) is a French academic. Faurisson generated much controversy with a number of articles, published in the Journal of Historical Review and elsewhere, as well as various letters he has sent to French newspapers (especially Le Monde), which deny various aspects of the Holocaust, including the existence of gas chambers in Nazi concentration camps, the systematic killing of European Jews using gas during World War II, the authenticity of The Diary of Anne Frank, and the veracity of Elie Wiesel's accounts of his wartime suffering.[1]

After the passage of the Gayssot Act against Holocaust denial in 1990, Faurisson was prosecuted and fined. In 1991, he was dismissed from his academic post.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Faurisson is the son of a French father and a Scottish mother, Jessica Hay Aitken.[3]

He was a student of French, Latin and Greek (Lettres classiques), succeeded in getting the agrégation (the highest competitive examination for secondary teachers) in 1956. He became teacher in a lycée at Vichy, while working on a thesis about Lautréamont and he got his doctorate in 1972. He was lecturer, then professor of French literature at the University of Lyon between 1973 and 1990.

While in Vichy, as a young teacher, he became famous when he published an interpretation of Rimbaud's Sonnet des voyelles as an erotic text, adding that he had found the only possible truth about this poem. Consequently, in 1960-1961, a controversy took place in French national medias (Le Monde, etc.) between him and some professors of Literature, notably René Etiemble. After that, he published his interpretation of Nerval's poems, with his "translation" in clear French language. Also his thesis about Lautréamont was more or less provocative.

Besides, about 1960, he had political sympathies for the activists of the Algérie française (meaning French Algeria) right wing movement. He was even arrested for short because of an interpretation of "OAS" (a terrorist organisation trying to kill, among others, de Gaulle) as an insult for the president of the Republic.

Holocaust denial[edit]

Faurisson's activism as a Holocaust denier first surfaced in 1974, when he contacted Yad Vashem with a lengthy letter detailing a variety of arguments which he claimed demonstrated that there had been no genocide of Jews during World War II.[2] These assertions were based on his own interpretation of archival records and his skepticism about the assertions and testimony of various historical figures, including Nazi officials such as Rudolf Höss.[2]

He became involved with the Institute for Historical Review during the 1970s, lecturing and publishing prolifically.[2] He twice testified in defense of Canadian-German Holocaust denier Ernst Zündel, and his testimony has been associated with laying the groundwork for the "Leuchter Report", a Holocaust-denial publication which has been influential.[2] Faurisson's activism garnered him several dedicated critics, including the Jewish French historian Pierre Vidal-Naquet.[2]

In 1978, Faurisson authored a French-language text entitled "The Diary of Anne Frank—Is It Authentic?".[4] It appeared in Dutch-language translation in 1985, with the modified title, "The Diary of Anne Frank—A Forgery".[4] The text questioned various elements of the Diary of Anne Frank, including the use of a vacuum cleaner by the family while they were in hiding. Faurisson continued,

Vacuum cleaners at that time were exceptionally noisy. I must ask: 'Is this credible?' My question is not just a formality. It is not rhetorical. Its purpose is not to astonish. My question is simply a question. An answer will have to be found.[4]

Faurisson interviewed Otto Frank in researching the article, though much of what Faurisson asserted Frank had said was later contradicted by Frank himself.[4] Faurisson's writing on the subject first came into the spotlight amidst a court case between Otto Frank and Heinz Roth, a publishing-house owner who was responsible for the circulation of various neo-Nazi writings, including several publications impugning the authenticity of Anne Frank's diary; Faurisson's writing on the subject was entered into the court record as an expert opinion in defense of Roth.[4] (The 1978 finding of the court was that Roth must refrain from publishing any more pamphlets claiming that the diary was a fraud.)[4]

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad granted Robert Faurisson an award for "courage" in Tehran on 2 February 2012.[5]

Controversies[edit]

Faurisson was fined by a French court in 1983, for having declared that "Hitler never ordered nor permitted that anyone be killed by reason of his race or religion."[1][6][7]

Further controversy was sparked when one of Faurisson's revisionist works was published with an introduction by Noam Chomsky. It turned out that the Chomsky piece was not written to be used as an introduction, although Chomsky had authorized its use to defend Faurisson in a different context. Chomsky's piece was a general defense of freedom of speech, including Faurisson's. Chomsky stated that he had "no evidence to support [the] conclusion" that Faurisson was antisemitic, while he considered Faurisson as a "relatively apolitical liberal of some sort".[8] Chomsky was accused of supporting Faurisson's views, rather than merely defending his right to speech, which Chomsky denied. Noting that he had described the Holocaust as "the most fantastic outburst of collective insanity in human history", Chomsky argued that his views were "diametrically opposed" to those of Faurisson on the subject.[2][9]

In September 1989, Faurisson was beaten severely by unknown assailants claiming to be, "The Sons of the Memory of the Jews", an organization about which nothing is known, either before or since the incident.[1]

Shortly after the passing of the Gayssot Act in 1990, Faurisson was convicted of Holocaust denial,[2] and the conviction was upheld by the UN Human Rights Committee in 1996.[10]

In 1991, Faurisson was removed from his university chair on the basis of his views under the Gayssot Act, a French statute passed in 1990 that prohibited Holocaust denial. He challenged the statute as a violation of international law at the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Human Rights Committee. The Human Rights Committee upheld the Gayssot Act as necessary to counter possible antisemitism. Further trials followed; among them, one in connection with a publication on the website of the "Association des anciens amateurs de récits de guerre et d'Holocauste" (AAARGH) in 1998, of which he was absolved due to lack of evidence of his authorship.

Faurisson was charged again in a trial on 11 July 2006. He was accused of denying the Holocaust in an interview with the Iranian television station "Sahar 1" in February 2005. On 3 October 2006, he was given a three-month probationary sentence and fined €7,500 for this offence.[11][12] In December 2006, Faurisson gave a speech at the International Conference to Review the Global Vision of the Holocaust, which was sponsored by the government of Iran. He repeated his theories about gas chambers and said that for the past 32 years, he has been waiting for someone to show him just one of those chambers.

Since late 2008, Faurisson has become close to the comedian and political activist Dieudonné M'bala M'bala, appearing with him publicly on stage and in video, and celebrating his 80th birthday in his theater.[13][14][15][16][17] Dieudonné awarded Robert Faurisson an "insolent outcast" prize. The award was presented by one of Dieudonné's assistants, Jacky, dressed in a concentration camp uniform with a yellow badge. This earned Dieudonné another court conviction in a long series.[18][19]

Publications[edit]

  • A-t-on LU Rimbaud ?, Bizarre, no. 21-22, 1961. 2nd edition under the title A-t-on lu Rimbaud ? Suivi de l'Affaire Rimbaud, Paris: J.J. Pauvert, 1971. 3rd edition published by La Vieille Taupe, 1991.
  • A-t-on bien lu Lautréamont ?, Paris: Gallimard, 1972.
  • La clé des Chimères et autres chimères de Nerval, Paris: J.J. Pauvert, c.1977.
  • Mémoire en défense: contre ceux qui m’accusent de falsifier l’histoire, Paris: La Vieille Taupe, 1980.
  • (edited by Serge Thion) Vérité historique ou vérité politique : le dossier de l’affaire Faurisson : la question des chambres à gaz, Paris: La Vieille Taupe, 1980.
  • Réponse à Pierre Vidal-Naquet, Paris: La Vieille Taupe, 1982.
  • "Chronique sèche de l'Épuration – Exécutions sommaires dans quelques communes de Charente limousine", Revue d'Histoire révisionniste, no. 4, February–April 1991.
  • Réponse à Jean-Claude Pressac, published by AAARGH, 1993
  • Écrits révisionnistes (1974-1998), 4 volumes, privately printed, 1999.
  • (With Siegfried Verbeke) Het «Dagboek» van Anne Frank : een kritische benadering

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ a b c Charny, Israel W. (1999). Encyclopedia of Genocide. Santa Barbara, California: ABC-CLIO. p. 182. ISBN 9780874369281. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h Levy, Richard S. (2005). Antisemitism : a historical encyclopedia of prejudice and persecution. Santa Barbara, Calif: ABC-CLIO. p. 225. ISBN 9781851094448. 
  3. ^ Brigneau, François (1992), Mais qui est donc le professeur Faurisson? (in French), Publications FB, OCLC 38790837, retrieved 2012-05-30 [page needed]
  4. ^ a b c d e f Frank, Anne and Hardy, H. J. J. and Barnouw, David and van der Stroom, Gerrold. The Diary of Anne Frank: The Revised Critical Edition. 2003, page 93-6
  5. ^ N. Maruani; A. Savyon (23 February 2012). "Iranian 'Conference on Hollywoodism and Cinema' Honors Prominent French Holocaust Deniers" (Inquiry and Analysis Series Report No.802). MEMRI. Retrieved 28 June 2012. 
  6. ^ Igounet, Valérie (2000). Histoire du négationnisme en France (in French). Paris: Ed. du Seuil. ISBN 9782020354929. [page needed]
  7. ^ Bouniot, Sophie (3 April 2007), Viscéralement antisémite, voilà ce que vous êtes M. Faurisson, L'Humanité (in French), retrieved 7 May 2010 
  8. ^ Some Elementary Comments on The Rights of Freedom of Expression by Noam Chomsky; appeared as a Preface to Robert Faurisson, Mémoire en défense, October 11, 1980
  9. ^ His Right to Say It, by Noam Chomsky, The Nation, 28 February 1981
  10. ^ "UN HRC views in case Faurisson v. France, No. 550/1993". .umn.edu. Retrieved 30 May 2012. 
  11. ^ "Négationnisme. Robert Faurisson condamné à trois mois avec sursis." L'Humanité, October 4, 2006
  12. ^ "Robert Faurisson condamné pour révisionnisme"[dead link] Associated Press French Worldstream, October 3, 2006,
  13. ^ "REGARDEZ - Dieudonné-Faurisson : ouverture d'une enquête préliminaire, actualité Société : Le Point" (in French). Lepoint.fr. 2008-12-30. Retrieved 2012-05-30. 
  14. ^ "Dieudonné, Faurisson, Le Pen : décryptage du trio infernal" (in French). Rue89. Retrieved 2012-05-30. 
  15. ^ http://www.lejdd.fr/cmc/societe/200901/dieudonne-s-enfonce-un-peu-plus_176189.html
  16. ^ [1][dead link]
  17. ^ "Dieudonné-Faurisson : le sketch qui fait scandale" (in French). Agoravox TV. Retrieved 2012-05-30. 
  18. ^ [2]
  19. ^ Amende de 10.000€ pour Dieudonné, Le Figaro, 27 October 2009

References[edit]

  • Frank, A.; Hardy, H. J. J.; Barnouw, D.; Stroom, G. v. d. (1989). The diary of Anne Frank: The critical, edition. London: Viking. ISBN 978-0-670-82048-1. 
  • Levy, Richard (2005). Antisemitism: a Historical Encyclopedia of Prejudice and Persecution. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO. ISBN 978-1-85109-439-4. 

External links[edit]