Archive/File: orgs/american/ihr seidel.001 Last-Modified: 1993/12/21 "The Darquier interview In November 1978 Robert Faurisson wrote a letter on the 'problem' of the gas chambers. Its timing was important. Its publication in Le Monde followed close on the heels of a scandalous interview with Darquier de Pellepoix in the weekly magazine, L'Express.  Dar- quier was the Vichy Commissioner General for Jewish Affairs. Darquier has been described as the 'French Eichmann'--though even Eichmann, the architect of the 'Final Solution', did not seek to deny its reality. Darquier, edited the Anti-Juif (Anti-Jew), which blamed the Jews for the world's troubles. He also wrote an intro- duction to a French edition of the Protocols published in 1939. He argued, as did Hitler, that whether they were true or false was not important: it was their vision that counted. Darquier was the second director of the Commission, created by the 1941 Vichy Law. He occupied the post for nearly two years. He was obsessed with the notion of race, and his propaganda machine spawned a pyramid of racist institutions. Whereas his predecessor, Vallat, played down the Nazi racist abuses of biology and physical anthropology, leading to the matching of physical types with intelligence and genetic desirability, Darquier had no such scruples. He made a radio statement in December 1942 suggesting that the deportation of Jews was a question of 'public hygiene'. The vocabulary of pollution is significant. Darquier made a number of proposals which went even further than those proposed by the Germans. The interview with the war criminal Darquier was a shocking event. It provoked a wave of indignation. It had been assumed that he was long dead, having been condemned to death in his absence on 10 December 1947. In fact, like the Nazi Belgian Rexist, Leon Degrelle, he was enjoying military protection in Spain. Clearly, no effort had been made by the Giscardian government to extradite him, and the Gaullist Minister of Justice, Alain Peyrefitte, lost no time in making a statement to the effect that extradition orders were not made on political grounds. Yet there are obvious counter- examples on the left, like the Stuttgart lawyer, Klaus Croissant, whose only crime was to defend his clients, the Baader-Meinhof Urban guerrillas, who later committed suicide in the Stannheim top security prison under suspicious circumstances. In his Express interview, Darquier sought to deny both the Holocaust and the gas chambers ('There was no genocide--you must get that out of your head'). He claimed that only lice were gassed in Auschwitz. He also denied his own responsibility in the formulation of anti-Jewish legislation and in organising mass de- portations. And he expressed no regrets. If this were not enough, the interview also gave offence because of its racist vulgarity and innuendo. The images of Jewry are reminiscent of the classical antisemitic work of Eduard Drumont of the Dreyfus period. For Darquier, Jews are typically liars: the six million dead? -- 'devilish Jewish propaganda'; 'a pure invention'; 'Jews will do any- thing for publicity'; 'Jews only have on idea in their head: to make a fuss wherever they are. And their aim? To make Jerusalem the capital of the world'. This war criminal went on to suggest that the photographs of gas chamber victims are 'Jewish fakes', and that the responsibility for the war lay with the Jews. The Faurisson affair The Holocaust denial in France has become synonymous with the Faurisson affair. What is more, it has become embroiled with Noam Chomsky, the distinguished American linguist and staunch oppo- nent of the Vietnam war. Faurisson's book is entitled Memoire en Defense -- contre ceux qui m'accusent de falsifier l'histoire. La question des chambres a gaz (Testimony in Defence: Against those who Accuse me of Falsifying History. The Question of the Gas Chambers). It is Faurisson's answer to the accusation of falsifying history. Testimony in Defence was published in Paris by Pierre Guillaume for the left anarchist publishing house, La Vieille Taupe (The Old Mole), in 1980. It boasts a preface by Noam Chomsky, an impassioned if ill-placed defence of free speech. It was this and no more. Chomsky most emphatically has no sympathy with the Holocaust denial propa- gandists. Securing a preface by Chomsky was quite a feat. It was not what he said that was significant but the face that the book was now closely associated with such a well-known and respected intellec- tual. It guaranteed Faurisson a measure of authority and a following largely, of course, on the fascist right, but also among some sections of the anti-imperialist, anarchist left. At the same time it gave him access to the media. Faurisson's denial of the Holocaust first appeared in the satiri- cal Canard Enchame on 17 July 1974. It subsequently gained public attention in December 1978 when the influential Paris daily, Le Monde, published a letter from Faurisson headed 'The problem of the 'gas chambers' or 'The rumour of Auschwitz' '. He wrote with calculated cynicism: 'The non-existence of the 'gas chambers' is good news for poor humanity. Good news like this should not be suppressed any longer.' Robert Faurisson is not a historian. He belongs to a long line of antisemitic academics and literary critics. Until recently, he was a lecturer in twentieth-century French literature at the University of Lyons II. He specialises in revealing 'the real meaning' of texts. In Faurisson's view, texts have one particular meaning, or none at all, an approach to stylistics he calls 'the Ajax method'--because 'it scours as it cleans as it shines'. Faurisson has 'demystified' or otherwise cleaned up a whole series of French authors in this way. He exposed the 'fabrications' and 'falsifications' of previous interpretations of which readers were 'dupes' and 'victims', a deception which in some cases had gone undetected for a hundred years. He then turned his attention to other types of text, including Anne Frank's Diary  and the Ger- stein report. With characteristic repetitiveness and thoroughness, the Ajax method having done its work, he informed the world that, in his view, the Diary was a 'fabrication' and the gas chambers an 'enourmous hoax'. This is the 'good news for humanity' announced in his letter to Le Monde. Being such a benefactor of humanity, Faurisson had been itching to impart this news for some time. Over a period of four years he had written to Le Monde 22 times about the gas chambers. Le Monde finally conceded after Faurisson had commented ap- provingly on Darquier's allegation in a letter dated 10 November 1978, and published in L'Express, which he circulated to a number of newspapers. Following this letter, he was contacted by the socialist daily, Le Matin. In an Interview in Le Matin of 16 November 1978, he expressed the hope that the Express interview: will help the public to realise that the alleged massacres in the 'gas chambers' and the alleged 'genocide' are part of same lie which, unfortunately, has hitherto been sustained by official history (that of the victors) and by the considerable power of the media. In common with the Frenchman, Paul Rassinier (a former member of the resistance and a deportee), with the German, Wilhelm Staglich, [author of the Auschwitz Myth], the Englishman, Richard E. Harwood, the American, Arthur R. Butz (author of the Hoax of the Twentieth Century, such a remarkable work that clearly no one has been able to reply to him) and twenty other authors who are either ignored or calum- nied as I hereby proclaim... that the massacres in so-called 'gas chambers' are a historical lie... The drama documentary 'Holo- caust' will not shed any light on this question, nor will LICA [League against Racism and Anti-Semitism, now known as LICRA]... We can only make sense of it by examination of the different arguments. Amidst the outrage provoked by the Darquier interview and in discussions about the screening of the 'Holocaust' film, which was eventually shown in France in February 1979, Faurisson's letter came under fire. He used this pretext to demand his legal right to reply and to impart his good news to an even larger section of the French reading public. It was at this point, between Darquier and the 'Holocaust' film, that Le Monde gave in.29 A full version of Faurisson's text had previously been published by Bardeche in the June 1978 issue of Defense de l'Occident. As the fascist Defense has a limited circulation, Faurisson sent copies of the text to a number of public figures. The letter was accompanied by the following typed note: Conclusions (after thirty years' research) of revisionist authors: 1. The Hitler 'gas chambers' never existed. 2. 'Genocide' (or 'attempted genocide') of Jews never took place; more precisely, Hitler never gave the order (or would never have approved it) that anyone should be killed on the grounds of their race or religion. 3. The alleged 'gas chambers' and the alleged 'genocide' are part of the same lie. 4. This lie, which is essentially Zionist in origin, has allowed a huge political and financial swindle of which the state of Israel is the principal beneficiary. 5. The principal victims of this lie and of this swindle are the German and Palestinian people. 6. The tremendous power of the official media has hitherto ensured the success of this lie and censured the freedom of expression of those who denounced the lie. 7. The supporters of the lie now know that their lie has only a few more years to run: they are distorting the objective and the nature of revisionist research; what is simply a concern with a retum to historical truth they are calling 'resurgence of Nazism' or a 'falsification of history'.  This produced explosive reactions and a blaze of publicity which Faurisson had sought for so long. It was at this juncture that the Dean of Lyons University decided to suspend Faurisson's lec- tures following hostile demonstrations. How is it that Chomsky and the left-wing French sociologist Serge Thion, became involved in the Faurisson affair? The asso- ciation is highly disconcerting for anyone on the left. Chomsky and Thion are friends. They were both prominent in the anti-imperialist struggle in South East Asia.  They are much admired on the left for their outspoken and courageous stand. What happened? Chomsky was one of the first to sign a petition in defence not of Faurisson, he insists, but of civil rights. An 'opinion' (un avis) originally solicited by Thion which Chomsky emphasises was in- tended simply as an 'opinion', nothing more, was published as preface to Faurisson's Testlmony in Defence. Yet Professor Arno J. Mayer of Princeton University talked with Chomsky about his preface one month before it was published so that he knew exactly in what context it was being used. Faye's version, however, is slightly different. According to a letter sent to his friend, the French writer, Jean-Pierre Faye, which Faye made public in a televised interview, Chomsky sought to retract this 'opinion', but too late. Convinced by Faye, Chomsky wrote to Thion requesting him either not to publish his statement on civil liberties, or to publish it as separate document. Thion also issued a communique, quoting from the letter in question. But the deed was done. However, this does not square with other information. Other Chomsky interviews, like the one given to the Italian newspaper, La Stampa, published on 18 December 1980, give a different impression. According to the report of the interview, he stated that, even with hindsight, his 'opinion' was not misused. Chomsky's 'opinion' published in Testimony in Defence is en- titled 'Some elementary comments on the right to freedom of speech'. In the second paragraph, Chomsky advises the reader that he has no particular knowledge of the subject, that is, of the gas chambers. This impression is confirmed when, towards the end of the preface, he tells us he is not very familiar with Faurisson's work. In fact, there is no evidence that Chomsky had read anything at all by Faurisson when he wrote this piece. What he had read. at least in part, was Pierre Vidal-Naquet's scholarly and detailed demolition of Faurisson's argument in 'A Paper Eichmann'. That surely was sufficient. Yet Chomsky does not address himself to Vidal-Naquet's arguments. He restricts his comments to Vidal-Naquet's reaction to the petition referred to in 'A Paper Eichmann'. The petition itself speaks for a man at the butt of persecution. But his defence of free speech knows no bounds. He writes: I should like to add a final remark about Faurisson's alleged 'anti-semitism'. Let it be said that even if Faurisson were a rabid anti-semite or a fanatic Nazi supporter--and these are accu- sations levelled at him in letters I have received...--that has absolutely no bearing on his legitimacy of the civil rights' defence. . . On the contrary, that would make the defence of these rights all the more imperative since, once again,... and history shows this, it is precisely the right to express the most dreadful ideas freely which must be most rigorously defended.. . Leaving aside this central question, one may wonder whether Faurisson is really an anti-semite or a Nazi. As I said before, I am not very familiar with his work... but I am in possession of no evidence which would support any such con- clusions... As far as I can judge Faurisson is a kind of relatively apolitical liberal. That anyone can describe Faurisson as a 'kind of relatively apolitical liberal' after reading his Testimony and other essays con- veniently reproduced by Thion is quite extraordinary. It is my considered view that Chomsky committed an act of gross irres- ponsibility. Taking an extreme anarchist position on free speech may appear attractive in theory. In practice, however, it usually involves making judgements. In this case, Chomsky has made a judgement about Faurisson by characterising him as a 'kind of relatively apolitical liberal'. As this is clearly far from being the case, it could be said that this political laissez-faire position leads to fudging. Thion's part in the Faurisson affair is quite different from Chomsky's in that he has willingly assumed the role of Faurisson's spokesperson. His book, Verite historique ou verite politique? (His- torical Truth or Political Truth?. 1980) published by la Vieille Taupe, reproduces a number of Faurisson's hitherto unpublished essays and letters. In a forceful introduction which strikes an urgent, personal note, Thion invites historical debate on the question of the gas chambers as a fundamental academic principle. He is undecided himself whether they existed or not. This open and questioning disposition is typically part of a certain academic training. In Thion's case, as in Chomsky's, it is no doubt shaped by his profound distrust of 'official versions' of history, whatever their political colouring. The stubborn refusal of sections of the official commu- nist left to admit to the grim reality of Stalinist excesses, put out at the time as CIA fabrications, is part of this resistance to 'official history' which is widespread on the left. It would be mistaken, in my view, to assume that Thion's involvement is an act of political bad faith. As I see it, Thion, in encouraging a thousand versions of history to bloom, while refusing an acceptable label to any one, replaces a state view of history (which he is surely right to reject) with a range of undifferentiated, equally weighted accounts. The difficulty is that such a range ig- nores power relations. It is a kind of free-market version of history. Thion would seem to have fallen into the trap of reproducing Faurisson's arguments as if they were disinterested contributions to a historical debate. It is tragic that Thion's uncompromising radical commitment to both free speech and academic debate ('we have no desire to discuss his [Faurisson's] intentions') does not allow him to see, even less accept, that Faurisson and others are bent on replacing the present anti-Nazi climate with a Nazi consensus, and that, in order to do so, they are playing intellectual games using academic, anti-authoritarian language. To talk of defending free speech in what is clearly a profoundly racist context can only be attributed to naivete or bad faith. For Pierre Guillaume, the proprietor of La Vieille Taupe, in a letter published in Liberation on 7 March 1979, this constant over-exposure of Nazism is politically undesirable. Guillaume admits that he prefers the reaction 'that's dead and gone', or 'Hitler, who's he?' Furthermore, in his view, it is 'an attempt to assume ideological power' and a substitute for the analysis of 'real problems'. It was on these dubious grounds that Guillaume was opposed to the screening of the 'Holocaust' film. He argued that deportation and torture are features of war everywhere (an argument also present in Bardeche and comparable sources), and drew attention to the undeniable atrocities committed by the French army during the Algerian war. This lead to an exchange of letters in Liberation which refer derisively to the Holocaust as the top of the 'horror hit parade' and to 'the great holocaust laments'. A number of leaflets appeared from the extreme left in support of Faurisson following the LICRA accusation of falsifying history. One such leaflet originally produced in June 1980 by La Guerre Sociale (Social War), associated with La Vieille Taupe, was entitled Qui est le Juif (Who is the Jew?). It seeks to draw a clear distinction between Darquier and Faurisson, and argues that the doubts about the existence of the gas chambers originated on the left with Ras- sinier, and the left must be concerned with the truth. The truth, it claims, cannot be antisemitic, even if it contradicts the 'mythology of the holocaust'. It further argues that 'the legend' of the 'gas chambers' was made official by the Nuremberg Tribunal where the Nazis were judged by the victors. If the function of these trials was to dis- tinguish 'democratic stalinist' camps from the Nazi camps, then it follows that the functions of both anti-fascism and anti-Nazism are comparable in that they serve to justify their own war crimes. The leaflet goes on to proclaim that there is one enemy, namely, the relations of capitalist production. This enemy is not to be confused with a single social group, like the bourgeoisie or the bureaucrats. The tract concludes by supporting Faurisson on the grounds of freedom of expression: it claims that he is being attacked for having looked for truth. Finally, it is stated that the struggle against racism of any description is both shortlived and superficial if it is not a struggle against capital. This is a striking example of dogmatic, maxist reductionism where oppressions are conflated to those of capital and class. It is not merely simplistic: it is also racist in that it ignores other specifities, other patterns of exploitation and exclusion. These arguments are set out more fully in a 1979 issue of La Guerre Sociale produced in association with La Vieille Taupe. The second part has assumed the proportions of a hundred-page book entitled De L'Exploitation dans les 'camps' a l'exploitation des camps (From the Exploitation in the Camps to the Exploitation of Camps) which also reprints a number of earlier leaflets. In May and June 1981, Faurisson stood trial at the Palais de Justice in Paris. There were three separate charges. The first was brought by the eminent historian, Leon Poliakov. Faurisson had accused Poliakov of manipulating and fabricating his sources with particular reference to the Gerstein report. This first charge was a straightforward slander case, but given the charged political con- text, it carried particular overtones. The second case to be heard and the only civil charge, was concerned with the social responsi- bility of the historian. Under Article 382 of the Civil Code, Faur- isson was accused of wilfully distorting history. The third charge, relating to an antisemitic radio statement which Faurisson had made on 17 December 1980, was for incitement to racial hatred according to the 1972 French Race Relations Law. Faurisson had stated: The alleged gassing and the alleged genocide of Jews are part of the same historical lie which has been the basis of a huge political and financial swindle of which the principle beneficiaries are the State of Israel and the principal victims the German people, not its leaders, and the Palestinian people. It is a shocking reversion of roles in which the Jewish people are accused of perpetrating crimes of which they were the victims. The reference to Palestinians is no less misleading and cynical. The reality of the gas chambers bears no relation to Palestine or the Palestinians. It is a confusing, diversionary tactic, and one which has had some support on the left. Indeed, there is a certain con- gruence with left-wing 'revisionism' of the Lenni Brenner variety discussed in chapter four. This argument, together with most of those reproduced and expanded by Faurisson, had been formulated by Rassinier in Debunking the Genocide Myth, who uses much the same phrasing. Faurisson only appeared for the first trial, and was found guilty on all three charges. The three cases were reported in Le Monde. The trials were reported in the British press by Gitta Sereny in the New Statesman, and in the French anti-fascist press. A full legal report was published in Le Monde on 18 July 1981, which has been translated in Patterns of Prejudice.  We shall begin with the last case. This case, in which the prosecution called on a number of expert witnesses, including his- torians, was particularly revealing in terms of fascist language and argument. Le Goff, medieval historian, illustrated how over cen- turies, going back to the year 1,000, a systematic association has been constructed linking Jews with 'fraud' and 'deception'. An under- standing of the historical dimension of antisemitism is vital. In his own experience, Jewish teachers are persecuted in present-day Poland in the name of 'anti-Zionism'. For Faurisson, antisemitism and anti-Zionism are synonymous. Madeleine Reberioux, social historian, referring to Kant, the nineteenth century idealist philo- sopher, characterised the phrase 'international Zionism' as 'a con- cept devoid of content'. Whereas the Nazis of the Third Reich referred to 'Jews' and alleged 'Jewish plots', contemporary Nazis refer to 'Zionists' and 'international Zionism'. The same is true in Britain. It is essential to realise that this strategic vocabulary shift is a feature of postwar fascist movements. The equation of 'Jews' with 'Zionist' is not just a facile and misleading formula but part of a well-planned strategy which attracts the allegiance of non-fascists, including uncritical section of the far left. The second trial for falsification of history was the most re- markable. The charge itself is quite extraordinary. It was a civil case brought by two anti-racist organisation, LICRA (League against Racism and Antisemitism) and MRAP (Movement against Racism and for Friendship among Peoples), together with groups repre- senting former members of the resistance and deportees. Neither side was inviting the court to rule on historical fact, or for or against a particular interpretation of history. This would have been crass and in any event unacceptable in a liberal democracy. It was Faurisson's methods that were under attack, not the right to express or publish his fundamentally antisemitic views. It was not the Inquisition trying to silence Galileo, as Faurisson's lawyer would have it. The case was based on a new interpretation of Article 382 of the Civil Code which is concerned with civil responsibilities. This new reading focuses on the social responsibility of the historian not to ignore or distort key documents. In a sense this is somewhat paradoxical since Faurisson claims to be reinterpreting existing documents, a normal part of academic reappraisal. But it is Faurisson's claim to academic status which is at the heart of the trial. Faurisson, Butz and others, as we have seen, go to great lengths to be accepted as genuine academics concerned with the advancement of knowledge. This strategy is evident in the creation of the Institute for Historical Review and its journal. The lawyers were conscious of the paradox, and addressed themselves to the distortions and gaps in Faurisson's arguments. Another dimension of the paradox was that in order to highlight these distortions it was necessary to contextualise and therefore provide the court with data concerning the gas chambers and the methods of extermination. The prosecution lawyers, in particular Bernard Jouanneau representing LICRA, had taken two years to prepare the case, working with and as historians. The documenta- tion was as voluminous as it was horrifying, its main focus being the Kremer diary. Johann Paul Kremer was an SS doctor who had been transferred to Auschwitz on 30 October 1942, ostensibly to solve the typhus epidemic. On arrival, he was given secret instructions by the doctor in charge. The Kremer diary gives detailed account of gassing arrangements, of the selection and preparation of victims, the removal of hair and gold teeth. In his books Faurisson argues at some length that the Kremer diary entry in which he records his first participation in the 'special action', describing Auschwitz as an 'extermination camp' has been misinterpreted and manipulated by postwar 'Polack-Stalinist' commentators. He alleges that the term 'extermination' (Vernich- tung) has nothing to do with gassing, but relates to the typhus epidemic which was raging throughout the camp. He goes so far as to provide a definition of typhus from the Larousse dictionary suggesting that the Greek etymology explains the term typhos as a kind of inertia. It is clear that the 'special actions', at which Kremer was present on 15 occasions, coincided exactly with new arrivals at Auschwitz. This further coincided with new, increased deliveries of Zyklon B gas. He maintains that the new arrivals represented an increased health hazard, and hence the gas--for delousing purposes only. Faurisson's other arguments, concerning mistranslation and omission addressed by the prosecution council, are of the same order. Ostensibly and superficially, the trial was about writing history, about historical method. There are, of course, conventional his- torical methods, and a historiographer entertains a particular re- lationship with history. The selection or elicitation of evidential material is intimately tied up with a particular construction of reality: any history, is typically a social construction in narrative form. This construction is eminently political and ideological, and involves categorisation. To erect categories is to establish the central characteristics of an object. For example, to talk of Jews as a 'problem' is to give a further lease of life to the dehumanised stereotype sustained by Nazi propaganda. This is also how blacks tend to be categorised in the media. And, indeed, all dominated groups. Reference has already been made in chapter two to the manipulation of the category of the natural. Also, the content of what one believes shapes one's stand, and this stand shapes what one sees. Belief in a Jewish world conspiracy will 'explain' or twist events, including the Holocaust, in which Jews are again the arch-conspirators, and the gas chambers a myth of their own making. Paradoxically, the charge, much of the prosecution and part of the defence, were seemingly apolitical. A number of the prosecution lawyers rejected the political in favour of the 'technical'. The 'technical' arguments amounted largely to detail accounts of the techniques of gassing based on SS diaries and testimonies, par- ticularly the Kremer diary. These were counter-arguments to those advanced by Faurisson in his Testimony--but they were not answered by the defence. It made more strategic sense to shift their terrain and construct a defence on the grounds of civil liberties and the limits of knowledge. This was political--at different levels. It was ostensibly poli- ticised in that Faurisson was portrayed as a victim of a repressive system. It was also a very acceptable liberal and left argument in terms of freedom of speech. The argument about the limits of knowledge was unanswerable. Eric Delcroix, Faurisson's lawyer, began: 'I am not brilliant. I don't claims to know everything. Who can claim to know everything about the truth?' Unimpeachable. Here was the 'revisionist' defence making skilful use of liberal arguments with the knowledge on both sides that fascism is as inimical to liberalism as it is to Marxism. It was political, too, at another level: in moving from and re- defining the original charge (distortion of history), the defence effectively and radically changed the rules, though this was, of course, still within the juridicial rules and conventions for conduc- ting a defence. I have referred to the weight of the technical arguments which Bernard Jouanneau and Charles Korman of LICRA presented to the court, through a mass of documents which they had assembled over a two-year period with the help of historians. Jouanneau spoke at some length in an appropriate monotone about the production and use of Zyklon B gas in the camps, and Auschwitz in particular. Korman's presentation was more personal in tone. He ad- dressed himself to the conditions of the victims in Auschwitz prior to gassing, and to the case of three Dutch women who were recorded as shot--precisely because they rebelled against the 'special action'. In Faurisson's construction, prisoners were typi- cally shot, never gassed. Korman had calculated how many Jewish victims had to be squeezed into the limited area of each chamber so that they remained wedged upright although dead. Young fascists in the courtroom sniggered and poked fun at the apparent impossi- bility of such maximisation of dying-space. Other lawyers for the prosecution made complementary points. These included Robert Badinter, former Minister of Justice in the Mitterrand administration, whose vibrant testimony led for the prosecution. It was as if the prosecution felt it incumbent upon them to advance the proof of the Holocaust--as if the neo-Nazi fabrication had to be taken seriously, as if it called for serious rebuttal on behalf of historians. Arguably, this was secondary. However, a prosecution cannot plead distortion in the abstract-- data must be provided. This was another paradox of the trial. As Apfelbaum has commented, the insidious effect of reading the Holocaust denial literature is to lose one's own identity as a survivor, and, more generally, as a Jew. The experience is comparable to psychological disorientation or sensory deprivation. After the physical genocide, this desire to destroy a people's history and identity represents a symbolic genocide. These were certainly the feelings I experienced during the trial, and I felt nausea then and now. My precise political assessment of the trial has not wavered: I agree wholeheartedly with Vidal-Naquet and others that it was an aberration. How can a court of law be invited to pass judgement on a version of history? It is unthinkable. At the same time, and I can stand the contradiction, I have an enormous sympathy, and, in- deed, an enourmous admiration for lawyers, like Jouanneau and others, who spent two years preparing the trial and who, like me, had been exposed daily to the Holocaust literature and its effects. Some must have entertained doubts about the advisability of this trial. The case was heard under the Giscard government. I can easily understand how anti-fascists, including Jewish anti-fascist activists, given the complicity of members of the police and high-ranking government officials, were determined to use every means at their disposal, and in this case, the legal system, to control and expose antisemitic activity and attacks. The trial also raises a fundamental problem for liberalism and the limits of free speech. Arguments in Britain about the pros and cons of banning the National Front produced similar divisions and uncertainties on the left. It would be widely accepted that fascism or fascist presence stifles free speech. Conversely, it is argued that moves to proscribe rightist organisations would certainly be used to ban the revolu- tionary left. Such moves are common in France against fringe groups, (who immediately regroup under another name), and are operated in Britain to ban both fascist and unemployment marches. Also, since courts would tend to be seen on the left and certainly by most black people as part of a repressive state system used to strengthen and, indeed, administer institutional racism, they cannot be considered as vehicles in the anti-racist struggle. On the other hand, race relations legislation, however toothless, uses the court of law. Clearly, this is a very vexed question. Notes M. R. Marrus and R. O. Paxton, Vichy et Les Juifs, (Paris: Calmann-Levy 1981),337. English language edition: Vichy France and the Jews (New York: Basic Books, 1981). 19. 'L'Express, 28 October-4 November 1978. The Express interview quoted from the Petit Parisien, 1 February 1943. 20. Marrus and Paxton, op. cit., 261 seq. See also P. Kingston, Anti-Semitism in France during the 1930s (Hull: University of Hull, Occasional Papers in Modern Languages, no 14,1983). 21. H. Arendt, Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil, (Harmondsworth, Middlesex: Penguin Books, 1979, 3rd edn . ) . 22. G.L. Mosse, The Nationalization of the Masses: Political Symbolism and Mass Movements in Germany from the Napoleonic Wars through the Third Reich, (New York, Fertig, 1978), 230. 23. In terms of their antisemitic vulgarity, there was not much to choose between them. In 1942 Vallat, addressing the students of the Ecole des Cadres, referred to Jews as 'worms which love gangrene sores'. Darquier referred to Bernard Lecache, president of the International Ligue against Antisemitism (LICA), as 'this circumcised swine' (quoted by Marrus and Paxton, op.cit.), 261. 24. Regarding Darquier, see J. Billig, Le Commissariat general aux questions juives, t. I, 1955, t. II, 1957 and t. III, 1960, Paris, Institut d'etudes des questions juives; J. Laloum, La France Antisemite de Darquier de Pellepoix (Paris: Syros, 1979). 25. D. Wallef, 'The Composition of Christus Rex', in Larsen Hagtvet and Myklebust, eds., Who Were the Fascists?, Oslo: Universitetsforlaget, 1980), 517-23. 26. Le Monde, 29 December 1978. For an accessible study of Faurisson's mode of argument, see N. Fresco, 'Les redresseurs des morts, ou comment on revise l'histoire', Les Temps Modernes, June 1980, 2150-2211. In English translation, 'The Denial of the Dead', Dissent, Fall 1981. For a linguistic study, see J. Authier-Revuz and L. Romeu, 'La place de l'autre dans un discours de falsification de l'histoire. A propos d'un texte niant le genocide juif sous le IIIe Reich', MOTS, no 8, mars 1984 (special number, G. Seidel, ed.), 53-70. 27. Barnes and Barnes, op. cit. 28. Quoted by S. Thion, Verite historique ou verite politique? (Paris: La Vieille Taupe, 1980), 93. (Trans: G.S.) 29. Le Monde, 16 December 1979, 29 December 1978, 16 January 1979. 30. Quoted by Thion, op. cit., 89. (Trans: G.S.) 31. N . Chomsky, American Power and the New Mandarins, (New York, Pantheon, 1969); S. Thion and J.C. Pomonti, Des Courtisans aux Partisans: essai sur la crise cambodgienne (Paris: Gallimard, 1971.) 32. P. Vidal-Naquet, personal communication, 3 December 1982. 33. Le Monde, 20 December 1980. 34. P. Vidal-Naquet's 'A Paper Eichmann' has been published in Democracy (USA), April 1981 in English. It was first published as 'Un Eichmann de papier' in Esprit, (September 1980), 8-56. Faurisson has since written a reply Re'ponse a Pierre Vidal-Naquet (Paris: La Vieille Taupe, 1982). See also Vidal-Naquet's 'Theses sur le revisionnisme', contribution to the International Colloquium on Nazi Germany and the Jews, Paris, 1982. 35. N. Chomsky's preface to R. Faurisson, Memoire en Defense, contre ceux qui m'accusent de falsifier l'histoire: La question des chambres a gaz (Paris: La Vieille Taupe, 1980), XIV-XV. (Trans: G.S.) 36. Thion, op. cit., 16. 37. Ibid, 138. 38. H. Alleg, La Question, (Paris: Minuit, 1958), P. Vidal- Naquet, La Torture dans la republique (Paris: Maspero, 1975). 39. Thion, op. cit., 136-7. 40. La Guerre Sociale, no. 3, (June 1979). 41. J. Shirley, 'A tale of horror on the Berlin Express', Sunday Times, 29 March 1981. 42. P. Rassinier, Debunking the Genocide Myth (Torrance, California: Institute for Historical Review, 1978), 214. 43. Le Monde, 31 May; 1, 3, 4 and 30 June 1981. 44. G. Sereny, 'The Nazi record on trial', New Statesman, 10 April 1981,4. 45. Le Droitde vivre, September 1981. 46. Patterns of Prejudice, vol 15, no 4, (October 1981), 51-S. The 'Roques Affair' is the latest postscript. A doctoral thesis improperly awarded to Henri Roques in June 1985 at Nantes University in the presence of Faurisson was withdrawn after the intervention of the French Minister responsible for research. The thesis implicitly denied the existence of the gas chambers. (See 'M. Roques n'est pas docteur', Le Monde, 4 July 1986; and P. Webster, 'Minister cancels doctorate claiming innocence of Nazis', Guardian, 3 July 1986.) (Seidel, 98 - 111) 47. Billig, 1978, op. cit. 48. This is further discussed in chapter seven. 49. Faurisson, 1980, op. cit., 121. 50. Ibid., 14. 51. Billig, 1984, op. cit., chapter 9. 52. See G. Wellers' letter 'Un Roman inspire', Le Monde, 21 February 1979; see also E. Kogon et al., Les Chambres a Gaz, Secret d 'Etat, (Paris: Editions de Minuit, 1984). 53. E. Apfelbaum, 'Forgetting the Past', Partisan Review, 4, 1981,608-7. 54. G. Seidel, 'Neo-Nazism Myth: Faurisson and History on Trial', paper presented to the Tenth World Congress of Sociology (Sociolinguistics section, subsection: Language and Power), Mexico, August 1982. 55. P. Vidal-Naquet, Les Juifs, la memoire et le present (Paris: Maspero, 1981). Work Cited Seidel, Gill. The Holocaust Denial. London: Beyond the Pale Collective, 1986
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