[Marxism] Robert Faurisson, Holocaust Denier Prosecuted by French, Dies at 89
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
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
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
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,
Mr. Faurisson is survived by his wife, Anne-Marie, two sons and a daughter.
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