[Marxism] Robert Faurisson, Holocaust Denier Prosecuted by French, Dies at 89

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Wed Oct 24 07:37:32 MDT 2018


NY Times, Oct. 24, 2018
Robert Faurisson, Holocaust Denier Prosecuted by French, Dies at 89
By Adam Nossiter

PARIS — Robert Faurisson, a former literature professor turned 
anti-Semitic propagandist whose denial of the Holocaust earned him 
multiple prosecutions, died on Sunday at his home in Vichy, France. He 
was 89.

His death was confirmed by his publisher, Akribeia, which is known for 
its far-right leanings.

Mr. Faurisson was regarded as a father figure by contemporary French 
exponents of Holocaust denial, the extremist fringe in a country with a 
long tradition of anti-Semitism. Contemporary far-right figures like the 
propagandist Alain Soral and Dieudonné, who calls himself a humorist, 
have followed in his footsteps, but none have had the long-range 
tenacity of Mr. Faurisson.

French writers on the political margins began denying the Holocaust not 
long after the war ended. But Mr. Faurisson distinguished himself by 
making a rare breakthrough into the country’s mainstream media, 
publishing a notorious opinion article in France’s most respected 
newspaper, Le Monde, in 1978.

Titled “The Problem of the Gas Chambers, or the Rumor of Auschwitz,” the 
article was an immediate embarrassment for the newspaper, but it 
launched the public career of Mr. Faurisson, who until then was an 
obscure professor of French literature at the University of Lyon.

His notoriety only grew through an endless cycle of articles in the 
far-right press denying that gas chambers had been used to kill Jews, as 
well as through interviews and the French justice system’s condemnations 
of him under its hate-speech laws.

In 1990 he became the first person in France to be convicted under a law 
that criminalized the denial of crimes against humanity as they were 
defined in 1946 by the Nuremberg Tribunal.

Mr. Faurisson’s assertions drew attention in the French press in the 
1980s and ′90s for their outrageousness, prompting scholars and 
activists to respond. But he faded from view over the last decade, 
reappearing only occasionally to traffic his views on the radio and 
elsewhere.

The most recent judgment against him came in November 2016, when a court 
fined him 10,000 euros for propounding “negationism” in interviews 
published on the internet.

Mr. Faurisson’s expertise in 19th-century French poetry gave him a 
veneer of respectability, as did a petition defending his free-speech 
rights signed by Noam Chomsky, the politically outspoken American 
linguistics expert. Mr. Chomsky wrote several pages defending Mr. 
Faurisson’s right to express himself, and Mr. Faurisson later used that 
writing in a self-justifying memoir in 1980.

“He was a professional propagandist who didn’t work scientifically,” 
said Valerie Igounet, a French historian who wrote a biography of Mr. 
Faurisson. “It was all dictated by an ideology. He was a falsifier of 
history.”

That ideology was anti-Semitism. His study in Vichy, the wartime capital 
of collaborationist France, was crammed with books and periodicals 
denying the Holocaust. There were photocopied checks made out to the 
French treasury — the record of his fines.

In an interview with this reporter in 1998, Mr. Faurisson, a slight, 
bespectacled figure with a high voice, asked me at one point, as if to 
clinch his argument, “Have you ever seen a gas chamber?”

At another point he said: “Excuse me, but you are definitely a Jew! And 
the Jew, we have the right to typecast him. How on earth do you imagine 
that one would not be irritated by them?”

In 1989, Mr. Faurisson was beaten by a group calling itself Sons of 
Jewish Memory in a park near his home.

Mr. Faurisson was born on Jan. 25, 1929, in Surrey, England, to a 
Scottish mother, Jessica Hay Aitken, and a French father, Robert 
Faurisson, who worked for a French shipping company.

He studied at the Lycée Henri IV in Paris, one of France’s most 
prestigious secondary schools, and the Sorbonne.

Execrated at home, Mr. Faurisson was lauded in Iran, receiving a prize 
from its president at the time, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad — who was well known 
for his fulminations against Israel and Jews — for “courage, resistance, 
and combativeness.”

Mr. Faurisson is survived by his wife, Anne-Marie, two sons and a daughter.



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