Following part --- Preceding Part
Second Part of this Chapter
Paragraph 5 (bis). The journalist adds: "Again, for R.E.H., these Jews have not been massacred, shot, executed, gassed, burned, assassinated." They were, like the Germans, victims of epidemics and famine, because of the Allies.
Remark: R.E.H. mentions in fact typhus, sicknesses or epidemics, hunger or famine. But he also cites Jews who died in partisan wars (p. 15a) or during "the dramatic uprising of the Warsaw ghetto" (p. 20b). He never says that Jews, through some kind of privilege, would have escaped the horrors of war (hostage taking, executions, attacks, bombings). What he says, on the other hand, (a point on which he insists and challenges anybody to refute him), is that Hitler never gave the order to kill anybody, because of his race or his religion. He adds that to talk, as it was once done, about an "oral order" or a "disguised formula" would amount to speculation. He insists that being Jewish may lead to imprisonment or deportation, but not to death. The crematory ovens existed: cadavers were burned there instead of being buried. The "gas chambers" are a total invention of war propaganda.
Paragraph 6. The journalist says that, for R.E.H., "in 1939, only three million Jews remained in Germany, Austria and the countries of Europe that were going to be invaded by the German armies, instead of six million who lived there ten years earlier."
Remark: The historian is not talking about 1929 (1939 less ten years = 1929). He says that in 1933, there were 6,500,000 Jews in this part of the world, due to successive emigrations towards the West, the South, and especially, from 1941 onwards, towards the interior of the U.S.S.R., the number was reduced around this time to between three and four million (p. 35a: four million; p. 35b: three million).
Paragraph 7. The journalist is right, up to some details.
Paragraph 8. The journalist says that for R.E.H.: "The camps were production centers, well organized and well kept. It is true that people there were compelled to work, but they were well treated, well nourished and well taken care of, except possibly, in some, towards the end of the war."
Remark: The journalist is right, in substance. The historian minimizes the suffering of some deportees in some camps. He quoted only the testimonies that support his point of view. He wanted to show that there were colossal exaggerations in the description of life in the camps. Taking into consideration what seemed to him as thirty years of horror propaganda, he recalls some points from the declarations of Margaret Buber (-Neumann), of Charlotte Bermann (p. 25b), of Dr. Barton (p. 29a-b) and of "some statements made under oath for the Nuremberg trials" but not highlighted (p. 28b). Concerning Bergen-Belsen (most horror photographs concern this camp, part of which is a hospital), he talks of "chaos" at the end of the war (p. 28b).
Paragraph 8 (bis). The journalist says that for R.E.H., no concentration camp "has ever contained a `gas chamber' or a veritable crematory ovens."
Remark: R.E.H. says that there did not exist even a single one of these monstrosities baptized "gas chambers." On the other hand, he unequivocally says that cadavers were burned in these crematory ovens, authentic crematory ovens, instead of being buried. He writes: "Christophersen (author of le Mensonge d'Auschwitz, 1973), admits that there must have certainly been crematory ovens at Auschwitz because 200,000 lived in this camp and there are crematory ovens in every city of 200,000 people" (p. 20a). He also writes, referring to the only crematory oven of Dachau: "[He was] similar to crematory ovens currently in use in all cemeteries; it was simply used to incinerate the cadavers of persons who died at the camp of several natural causes, especially infectious diseases. This fact was conclusively proved by the archbishop of Munich, Cardinal Faulhaber. He told the Americans [after the war] that thirty thousand people were killed in Munich during the Allied bombings of September, 1944. At that time, the archbishop requested the German authorities to incinerate the victims' bodies at the crematory of Dachau, but he was told that this was impossible because there was only one oven and it could not incinerate so many cadavers" (p. 27a).
Paragraph 8 (ter). The journalist accuses R.E.H. of the following thought: "Lie, slanders, all these completely fabricated tales, rigged photographs, books and films that represent these camps as places of extermination, torture and death."
Remark: All through his brochure, the historian gives spectacular examples of this industry of fakes. The Nuremberg Tribunal [art. 19 of its statutes] cynically authorized the usage of fakes: It is decreed that "The Tribunal shall not be bound by technical rules of evidence" (p. 12a).There were fewer restraints manufacturing fakes since it was not possible to take legal proceedings against the use of these fakes. Business got involved. In some cases, even the Jews became concerned about the proliferation of these fakes. For example, Au nom de tous les miens, by Martin Gray (p. 25a-b). The historian considers as fakes all the testimonies, "admissions" or "confessions" that present the camps as places of "extermination." The examples he gives seem irrefutable (Hoess, Gerstein, Nyiszli, the astonishing photographic assembly on his page 30a, etc. etc.) In only one case, his argument is without merit: The Diary of Anne Frank. ThisDiary is a literary hoax easily proven by means other than those used by R.E.H.
Paragraph 9. The journalist says a "swirl of quotations mingle incoherently, the International Red Cross, the newspaper Die Tat of Zurich, January 19, 1955, etc."
Remark: one may wonder what this means. Is the journalist complaining that there are too many quotations?
Paragraph 10. The journalist says that R.E.H. supports his arguments with "quotations from known, unknown, obscure or imaginary authors."
Remark: The journalist, citing no example to support his argument, we do not know what he means by "unknown" and especially "imaginary authors."
Paragraph 10 (bis). The journalist says that for R.E.H., "all confessions of Nazis" were "extorted by torture systematically practiced by the Allied after the defeat of the Reich."
Remark: The journalist fails to say that the Americans themselves were honest enough to admit the systematic use of the most severe torture, in many cases. See prison of Schwabisch Hall, Trial of Malmedy, Sepp Dietrich, Jochen Peiper, Oswald Pohl, Simpson Commission, Judge Edward L. van Roden declaring: "Out of 139 cases in our inquiry, 137 of these German soldiers (in the Malmedy affair only) received kicking in the testicles that left them with incurable wounds. It was a standard method used in these interrogations by these Americans [...] Strong men were reduced to human wrecks ready to mumble any confessions demanded by the public prosecution." (p. 13a-b). The historian evokes a good many other patently obvious cases of torture practiced by the Allies, especially by the Poles and Soviet (Wisliceney, [Ohlendorf], Rudolf Hoess). In order to explain these extravagant cases, as those, for example, of officials "admitting" the existence of "gas chambers" in camps where Allies themselves came to admit that no such "chambers" ever existed, the historian does not limit these explanations to explanations by torture. He also talks of "confessions" "under pressure," "or because reduced sentences were promised [to the accused]." See p. 16b, the Bach-Zelewski affair. The threat to hand over the accused to the Poles or to the Soviets, the blackmail of abolishing ration cards given to the families of the accused, the retaliatory measures brandished against the soldier if the officer does not "confess," and vice versa, the tremendous moral pressure exerted on the accused by the justice and judicial apparatus of the victors, the heroic effort required to be witness for the defense of presumed "criminals" with no right to appeal: All these elements and many others either have to be clearly stated by the historian, or are obvious, when we keep in mind what he says about other subjects that are explained by these "confessions" and "testimonies."
Paragraph 10 (ter). The journalist says that the R.E.H. brochure contains "a mass of impressive references, obviously unverifiable, and the exceptions are crudely rigged."
Remark: The journalist does not give any example to support this statement (see our remark on "An example" in the following paragraph). It might be good to know what an "unverifiable" reference is (did the journalist mean "incomplete"?) and especially an "obviously unverifiable reference."
Paragraph 11. The journalist writes: "An example: the brochure refers to the eminent American historian, Harry Elmer Barnes" (?) who basically wrote in Rampart Journal (??) during the summer of 1967 -- but the "quotation" is obviously given in quotes -- that there was no systematic extermination in the `death camps'."
Remark: Harry Elmer Barnes was a historian of international reputation. His publications were numerous in his thirty year university career. A tribute to him by his former students and disciples was just published in a book. It has 884 pages (hardback ed.). Rampart Journal of Individualist Thought is not a fictitious publication. The reference "summer 1967" is exact (vol. 3, no. 2). The article of H.E.B. is called "The Public Stake in Revisionism" (pp. 19-41). Nowhere does R.E.H. pretend to quote "basically" H.E.B. and then to quote him "in quotes"! From the start, he wrote H.E.B. in quotes. As to the quoted passage, it does not have the meaning that the journalist finds in it. This passage, of major importance, shows that immediately after the war, the victors attempted to pass off some camps in the West not as simple concentration camps but as extermination camps (Dachau, Buchenwald, etc.) Then when it was proved that the accusation was untenable, it was transferred to the camps in the East. However, as pointed out by R.E.H., these camps, and especially, those of the Auschwitz complex, were not possible to visit for many years after the end of the war. Therefore, the quoted passage has the value of a warning and a salutary reminder to anyone who would forget this "mistake" of the immediate postwar period when Buchenwald beat Auschwitz in the horror propaganda.
Paragraph 11 (bis). The journalist places one question mark after the name of H.E. Barnes, two question marks after Rampart Journal, and then three question marks after the name of Berta Schirotschin.
Remark: It cannot be held against the historian that all the names of all the detainees at Dachau be universally known. By quoting Ernst Ruff, Jan Piechowiak and Berta Schirotschin, he was careful to indicate the kind of work each one of them did in the camps.
Paragraphs 12 to 15. These last four paragraphs do not call for any remarks. For this is where the journalist expresses his own opinion about a brochure, which, as we have seen, he very superficially skimmed. He expressed his judgment in the following terms: "stupid," "fantastic," "as hideously nonsensical as ignominious," "this dirty brochure," "nauseating," "incredible allegations," "blinded," "foolish," "outlandish enormities," "ignorant," "very silly," "charlatans, quacks and crooks of all shades," "lie, lie, something will always pass." To conclude, the journalist renews his act of faith in the horror of the concentration and extermination camps.
This was at the time when Faurisson was writing a brief report on his research entitled "The Problem of Gas Chambers," that nobody seems to want to publish. His insistence brought him a new reply by Pierre Viansson-Ponte from the editorial staff of le Monde (August 6, 1977):
I did nothing to you, except to keep your fiery lampoon out of our newspaper. I don't understand why you can talk about "the damage I caused you" and demand reparations.
One of two things: either you consider yourself a supporter of Nazism, being charged by some providential decree of the mission to dispense justice and homage to it by writing and proclaiming outrageous absurdities. And in this case, I cause you harm by refusing to play this game, which I consider rather disgusting.
Or you are really anti-Nazi, as you write, uniquely concerned about historical truth. In this case, I am ready to listen to you.
However, one condition seems normal to me: You invoke unknown "witnesses," revoke testimonies that do not support your argument, make assertions without any proofs. In turn, I have the right to raise doubts, as I shall do in the light of a specialist or a scholar, as you say you are. Bring me the testimony of one person whose human qualities and historical knowledge of the subject in question are unanimously recognized, who accepts to take your affirmations into consideration -- I am not saying to approve -- and then, I will publish them. And since you constantly refer to her in your texts, I designate as arbiter and guarantor, Mme. Germaine Tillion, whose integrity, knowledge and experience in the subject are above all suspicion. Let her tell me or write me that you are not wrong, and I will give in.
I will even go further. If Mme Tillion is not available, I will equally accept the opinion of another person to whom you make reference, Mme. Olga Wormser-Migot, historian, too, and a specialist in the system of concentration camps, which was the subject of her doctoral thesis and of many of her books, and she is equally worthy.
It goes without saying that, without the guarantee of one or the other of these recognized and honest specialists, in whom I have complete confidence, I will consider you a falsifier and a dangerous maniac. And then I will make the necessary arrangements to prevent you from continuing to slander me.
A kind of honor jury, that is what Viansson-Ponte proposes. This is obviously quite meager to resolve a historical problem but it might be sufficient to clear Faurisson of the burden of accusations. So the latter went about duly explaining his situation to Mme. Wormser-Migot (August 18, 1977).
Three years and one week have passed since opening the newspaper le Monde, I discovered a "testimony," where a former (lady) deportee, pointing out but without naming me, called me a "falsifier," "insane," and with a "perverted mind." And this because I dared to doubt the existence of Hitlerian "gas chambers." During a meeting at your residence on September 24, 1974, you let me know that you expressed your disapproval toward this "testimony'; you even communicated it to the interested person, namely, Charlotte Delbo.
That same day, you offered to intercede with Mr. Raymond Las Vergnas to tell him that you disapprove of the statement issued by la Sorbonne Nouvelle that condemns my research.
Still the same day, you predicted all kinds of problems for me if I persisted. You confirmed to me what I already knew about the serious problems brought upon you by your three pages on "the problems of gas chambers."
You were not mistaken. Here is a brief account of the troubles I have encountered:
-- A press campaign originated in Israel in 1974, Tribune juive-Hebdo, le Canard enchaine, le Monde, le Droit de vivre, l'Humanite (I am told), the Grand Rabbi Kaplan on television; they pointed me out; they gave my name; they published my home address; I received a flood of letters and threats, sometimes signed by their authors and on their stationary; offensive graffiti on my house; abuse over the phone; my daughter insulted; my wife insulted.
-- [The University of] Sorbonne Nouvelle, deforming the spirit of research of which it actually knows absolutely nothing, has condemned Faurisson and has gone so far as to say that he is not on its faculty.
-- My condemnation was carried out in an outrageous manner; I was neither heard, nor informed. Everything took place behind my back. I learned of my condemnation after the fact.
-- Tribune juive-Hebdo, having suggested that my place is no longer in the S.N.E. Sup (I belonged to the S.N.E.S., where I had been section secretary, and later to the S.N.E. Sup for twenty years), I was dismissed from my union; there too, I was neither heard nor informed; I learned of the sanctions by chance and after the fact. I demanded to be heard. It was a waste of time. I filed a paper with the "commission of litigations," which dismissed my case without a trial.
-- Lyon 2, my new university, took an unprecedented decision: It decided not to consider me for the position of untenured professor that I had solicited. You know that when a university wants to block the career of an associate professor, it does not act in this manner. It is sufficient to put the name of the candidate at the bottom of the classification list. To act differently, to act as it has done in my case, is to take a very serious initiative, which can only have a very serious motive, even so serious as the candidate ought at least be heard, and then, once a decision is taken, be notified of this decision. I may yet be asking too much, given that my case had no precedent. However, here too, I learned of this decision only by chance and thanks to an indiscretion. But you see how, later, they took their liberties with the truth. I succeeded in pushing the university administration against the wall, and this, thanks to the district court of Lyon and to the State Council. First, I was accused of being a Nazi, on the grounds that I denied the existence of the concentration camps, or the "gas chambers," ad libitum. The prosecution file: press clippings from le Canard enchaine, le Monde, etc. The second time I was accused not of being a Nazi but of being crazy on the same grounds supported by the same prosecution file. The third time, they went even further. The two previous accusations were totally abandoned on the following grounds, filed this time with the district court: "Mr. Faurisson has never published anything, and this by his own admission." The file, this time, is a letter of mine. In this letter that I had addressed to the president of my university expressing my surprise at the accusation of Nazism, I wrote indeed that, since I had published nothing, I did not see upon what this accusation was founded. It goes without saying that this phrase means that I had never published anything... which would lead to thinking that I was a Nazi. This phrase was excerpted from my letter to make me into an associate professor who had never published a single book or article. The charge was the more cynical that my application file had a page long list of my publications, some of which are fairly known in France and abroad.
I will not go into three or four other contemptible acts that I could add to this list.. I will not dwell on the fact that my life has become more difficult. I will not dwell on the fact that, having no money, I must pay the attorneys. I will not dwell on the fact that my wife has suffered from a serious nervous breakdown, to which so many troubles are, unfortunately, not unrelated.
But, you see, I feel clean and I know that quite a few people got sullied. I am taken for a "Nazi" as, at other times, I was taken for an "Angliche" and as, had Hitler won the war, I would have been taken as playing into the hands of the "judeo-Marxists."
I am heading straight on this path. I might seem naive to you. Between us, I think that I am about as naive as Voltaire. Voltaire was naive, and in good French, he was courageous, by fits and starts, but without great continuity. In the final analysis, I prefer to compare my work to that of Jean Norton Cru who, despite the insults, carried out his task to the end, never despairing of men.
I came to the conclusion that the Hitlerian "gas chambers" never existed. My inquiry goes back a good many years. When I went to see you, I already knew a great deal about the question. Because you were friendly to me, because I did not want to hurt your feelings, and also -- frankly -- because this is my way of inquiring, I did not reveal to you, at the time, what I knew precisely about the Hoess or Gerstein "documents" and about the "testimonies" of Nyiszli and his ilk. I did not tell you that I could recite the two "depositions" of Dr. Bendel. Remember what I later wrote to you about "document" No. 365: an example, among many others, of the dishonest presentation of the Center of Contemporary Jewish Documentation.
You sent me a photograph of the "gas chamber" at Majdanek, the more so precious, you told me, that it predated the "museographic frenzy that presided over the transformation of the site" (I am quoting from memory). This is the photograph of a shower room. As to the site, I visited it in 1975: As a rude hoax, it can't be any better. It is laughable. I visited Auschwitz and Birkenau in 1975 and 1976. I have a wealth of photographic documentation on everything related to the "gas chambers" of the two camps. I have copies of particularly interesting plans that everybody is wary of publishing.
I have a lot of "documents," "testimonies," "affidavits" of NO, of NI, of NIK, of PS, etc. culled from the I.M.T., the N.M.T., the "Frankfurt trial" or other trials. I studied court reports of the "Jerusalem trial." I also read works of the Hilberg-Reitlinger school or the Rassinier-Butz school.
I wonder what trail I could have left unexplored.
My first visit to the Center of Contemporary Jewish Documentation goes back to 1967. From the beginning of 1974 to July 1977, I spent hundreds, thousands of hours in this same C.C. J.D. even though the utmost was done to make my visits and work conditions more and more difficult. I explored in depth the "extermination-gassing" file and many other documents not listed in this file. I had some discussions with Mssrs. Wellers, Rutkowski and especially with Mr. Billig who, in a letter addressed to me in 1974, expressed his surprise that, despite many proofs, one could still doubt the existence of "gas chambers." He ended up admitting in front of me in May 1977 that, after all, he was incapable of providing one proof for the existence of one "gas chamber." And as I insisted upon learning if he knew one person who was capable of providing such a proof, he answered that he really did not know such a person. He added, I must say, that in his opinion, if there had not been "gas chambers," there must have existed some industrial means -- he did not know precisely which -- to commit a gigantic massacre, a "genocide."
I would have a lot to say about this fallback position, but let's not dwell on it.
During our meeting of September 24, 1974, you told me: "You shouldn't attack the deportees. I ask one thing of you: promise me to write nothing." My answer was: "An article of mine may come out. I'm working on it." You then said: "Send it to me."
That is what I am doing today. This article is called, "The problem of gas chambers." I sent it on July 26, 1977 to the newspaper le Monde, which is hesitating to publish it.. Le Monde owes me reparations. It insulted me on August 11, 1974 and refused me the right to reply. Sooner or later, I will get this reparation in one way or another. P. Viansson-Ponte takes me for a Nazi sympathizer, can you imagine! He complains that, in my letters to J. Fauvet or to others of his colleagues, I insulted him. He probably sees there the sign of I don't know what frenzy. He forgot that he hurt me on August 11, 1974. I told him that, in addition, he had seriously distorted the content of R. Harwood's brochure in his article of July 16-17, 1977. I said that I, in turn, did not want to be given the same treatment (be the object of distortions, falsifications, adulterations, etc.) I told him that in the text of Harwood, there were things that were very good, others very bad, etc. etc. He wrote me a furious letter. He told me that he was ready to listen to me provided that Germaine Tillion or -- if she is not available -- Mme Olga Wormser-Migot tells him or writes to him that I am not mistaken in my thesis about "gas chambers." I told him that I have no confidence in G. Tillion, given her testimonies on the alleged "gas chamber" of Ravensbrueck. I said: "I agree about Mme Olga Wormser-Migot. Let's have a discussion, you, her and me, together. She gracefully received me at her home in 1974. She doesn't know my files. But in twenty minutes she will see what they are worth."
You said to my colleague Delpech -- whom I don't know well since I met him mostly at the C.C.J.D. :" Be careful, Faurisson is not a Nazi. Don't give him troubles." I wonder if, deep down, this suspicion of Nazism is not the same stumbling block for P. Viansson-Ponte. See, if everything else fails, you could reassure him on this point.
Is my article Nazi? violent? aggressive?
I am telling you that, if this affair of "gas chambers" and of genocide has to be defused, this article may do it. Things are moving fast now, very fast.
And then all this is very simple. They have to answer my question: "If the `gas chambers' did not exist, do we have to reveal it or to hush it up?"
I told you straight out. Answer me the same way.
The reply is dated November 7, 1977:
[...] I don't want to write you a volume, but I only want to make my position clear.
No. 1. Your visit moved me from all points of view. I thought above all about this uninterrupted persecution against a man of good faith.
No. 2. The first difference between my positions and yours, and you know it, is that I believe in the existence of gas chambers at Auschwitz and at Majdanek, and also the "experimental chamber" (1 m by 2 m by 3 m) of Struthof.
No. 3. Last and main difference: Given the feelings of deportees, deeply traumatized by suffering, it is obvious that your attitude cannot but hurt them. There are cases when History must wait until Time allows a study devoid of the aggressiveness of certain horror problems.
Listen to me -- and you know that I believe your research to have no other motive than historical truth -- from the time when your thesis was contested and your defense of it placed you more and more in opposition of the deportees, your stubborn attitude gave rise to confusion.
In fact, the more arguments you put up in support of your comments, the more you assert its truth, the more you seem in the eyes of some to clear Hitler of one of the accusations against him and his camps.
For me, dear sir, such a problem cannot be dealt with in the general context of Nazism. Tortures, experiments, genocide, crematorium ovens and mass graves, horror carried to the extreme, tell me if in all this the existence or nonexistence of gas chambers is to the history of these infamous years of such "additional" importance, so capital as to persist in still wounding the deportees and to expose your own existence to misery?
I reminded you that on a similar occasion -- when in my thesis le systeme concentrationnaire nazi, as you know, I expressed more than doubt about the existence of gas chambers at Ravensbruck and Mauthausen -- and subsequent to the stubbornness of historians that served only to poison things, I added a correction explaining the deportees' position on this subject. Because for me, the deportees always come first.
Rest assured, dear sir, that I am ready to help you as much as I can so as to clear your life of accusations so hurtful to you, your work and your family. But please try to understand the spirit of this letter.
That is the reason why I cannot acceed to your desire to meet M. Viansson-Ponte in my presence: controversies about this subject must not continue. I am writing to him, too.
I still insist on the necessity of a realistic state of mind on your part. I am ready to write to whomever you want, to apprise them of the futility of accusations against you. But exclusively in the spirit of this letter.
So the arbitration demanded by P. Viansson-Ponte did not take place. As a last resort, Faurisson tried against to plead his cause with le Monde, his right to free opinion, meaning, the right to make his opinion known. A sizable nuance (October 14, 1977):
To Mssrs. Fauvet and Lauzanne,
Despite the extremely unpleasant tone of his letters, I tried to talk things through and get along with M. Viansson-Ponte. Total loss. It is impossible to talk with somebody who is clearly in the habit of skimming through. Moreover, M. Viansson-Ponte hits, and runs. In 1974, he dealt me a terrible blow with this article of Mme. Charlotte Delbo, whose consequences on both the professional and family levels I tried again to explain to him on August 19, 1977. Had anybody other than a "Nazi" been subjected to a single one of these consequences, it would have sparked off articles and debates in the columns of your newspaper. M. Viansson couldn't care less about what he calls my "wrangles" and refuses to assume any responsibility for them. He goes so far as to say that I was "neither named nor designated" in the 1974 article. But this article, which was a part of the media campaign, started with a long quotation. This quotation had appeared in Yedioth Ahoronoth (May 26, 1974), in Tribune juive-Hebdo (June 14) and in le Canard enchaine (July 17): The author was named and his address was given and even repeated. It was about Faurisson, associate professor at the Sorbonne. These same newspapers and others went back over this affair.
On May 14, your collaborator had asked my permission to publish this text.. His exact words were: "I ask you if you have any objection to its eventual publication." I answered him on May 21 that I was opposed to the publication of a personal letter. Yet, on August 11, precisely at the height of a media campaign, I saw the text appear under the responsibility of M. Viansson-Ponte. In it, Mme. Delbo called me a "poor mad" professor whose research consists uniquely in finding "Proofs against the truth" and who has a "perverted mind." According to the headline of this "testimony," I was simply a "falsifier."
Any honest man would, I think find these practices unworthy of a great newspaper. I find them the most despicable among the other publications that attacked me. And this is le Monde that behaved in this manner. This is unacceptable. Frankly, neither one of you two has any excuse. Your newspaper owes me reparations that I have been claiming for three years. I have been straight with you. I did not give in to any excesses of language. I seek redress because my reply of 1974 (on "The right to doubt and to research") and my reply of 1977 (on "The problem of gas chambers") are of a very different tone than the harmful article inserted in your newspaper, following, maybe, months of reflection by M. Viansson-Ponte.
On August 6, 1977, the latter sent me a strange letter in which he tells me that he would not agree to publish my article on "the problem of gas chambers" unless Mme Germaine Tillion or Mme Olga Wormser-Migot took my assertions into consideration. Even though I do not believe for a moment in either an authoritative argument or in the value of patronage or recommendation, I accepted, in a spirit of reconciliation, to open my files to Mme Wormser-Migot. As for Mme Tillion, who has a lot of credibility among journalists, she has, in my view, discredited herself by her reiterated "testimonies" on the Ravensbruck "gas chamber" which, -- historical institutes ended up admitting, -- never had a beginning of existence (see Martin Broszat, Die Zeit, August 19, 1960). In response to my acceptance of August 11, 1977 concerning this subject, your collaborator wrote to me that he asked Mmes. Tillion and Wormser-Migot and added: "both told me that, according to them, your thesis is absurd, your stubborness is maniac and there is no reason to open a debate where there is none and which the pro-Nazi propaganda [M.V.-P. curiously says "counter propaganda"] will not fail to take advantage of. Further on, he wrote: "... send me a letter of recommendation by Mme. Wormser-Migot..."
This is taking people for fools. This is, once more, being evasive. M. Viansson-Ponte wrote, in the same manner, an insulting review of the Richard Harwood brochure. He started by providing the readers and judges with no reference that would allow them to find this brochure and form their own opinion of it. Then, realizing the vast reactions sparked off by this affair, he led you to believe, according to a July 22 letter to M. Lauzanne, that he would come back to the problem and cite the reactions it provoked. In fact, nothing happened.
Is all this clear and straight? M. Viansson-Ponte is better pen in hand behind a desk than under the sunlights of television. In full direct light, it is more difficult to evade an eventual response to an extreme or insulting comment. I have noticed that, on television, polemicists are unrecognizable, they don't take responsibility for half of what they wrote.
I assume full responsibility for my "free opinion" on the fraud of the "gas chambers." By its silence on the question for thirty years, or rather, by its bombardment of war propaganda with no possibility of an historical critique, the mass media in general, and, unfortunately, le Monde in particular, have undertaken a frightening responsibility. Time is ripe to correct such mistakes. I urge those who hold an anti-establishment view of official history, especially le Monde, to recognize a right other than the right to silence on this crucial point of "gas chambers." On the one hand, there is the popularity of the legend, and then, on the other hand, there is the duty to be true and the difficulty of being true. Le Monde has to finally respect the freedom of opinion on this matter and give the accused the right to present his defense. Let there be a truce of censorship! This is an elementary right in democracy: the right to doubt, to research, to free opinion; the right to reply. Gentlemen, please accept the expression of my confidence in your judgment and in your courage.
All this leads nowhere. The heresy is too serious for democracy to get involved with it. It's through letters to the editors of some popular history magazines that he attempted to start a discussion, but in vain.
In Historama (November 1975, p. 10):
I would like to point out an error and an omission on pages 87 and 88 of your July 1975 issue.
Error: the Nacht und Nebel Erlass is of December 7 and not December 12, 1941. It is true, to the best of my knowledge, that the text of this ordinance has not been found, and that what is always quoted, as was the case in the big Nuremberg trial, is the text of December 12, which uses it as a reference.
Omission: more serious, at least for anyone who does not like to confuse history with propaganda or journalism: Nacht und Nebel is an invented explanation of the initials N.N. commonly used in the German administration (and Italian, too) to designate either genuine or imposed anonymity. In the first case, it means Nomen Nescio (unknown name), in the second, it means Nomen Notetur (censured name). The French equivalent would be Inconnu, or X, or sans autre renseigement. Reference: Deutsches Woerterbuch de Jakob Grimm et Wilhelm Grimm, 1889, entry N.
The book by Walter Goerlitz on Keitel, translated by R. Moreigne (Fayard, 1963) says on p. 247, without further explanation, that the translation of N.N. by Nuit et Brouillard (night and Fog) is only customary.
Don't you think, like me, that it is important to review some customs and get to the truth by going back to the sources? We all make mistakes, and very often, but don't you think that, from rectification to rectification, Historama could appear as a magazine that, unlike others, is in search of the truth?
InHistoria (August, 1977, p. 132), the letter is preceded by a brief introductory paragraph:
Following the publication of our special issue, "Les medecins S.S.," M. R. Faurisson, Associate professor at Lyon University, takes issues with us in a long letter, extracts of which we decided to publish, not without some hesitation, because it expresses a current of an originality as rare as it is provocative. This current tends to deny the German attempt to exterminate the Jews.
Among its pioneers is the French former deportee, Paul Rassinier, who wrote in 1962: "The extermination of Jews in gas chambers is a historical lie." Since then, the American, Arthur Butz, published in the same spirit, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century, and the British, R. E. Harwood wrote, Did Really Six Million Die? (The Imposture of Gas Chambers.)
"I have the honor to launch a protest against this special issue of Historia dedicated to " S.S physicians"
"How can you believe for a moment the authenticity of the "gas chamber" of Struthof of which you cannot show a photograph? Have you wondered why no book on Struthof, including the novel of Allainmat, does not have a photograph of this "gas chamber" that is shown to visitors in its "original state," as the inscription on it says? How could you reproduce a photograph of the exterior with this kind of chimney?. . ."
"Did you know that Kramer [commander of Struthof and later of Bergen-Belsen N.D.L.R.] is the author of this confusion about the "gas chamber," whose vagueness and absurdity exceeds by far all the "confessions" of the Moscow, Cracow (Hoess) and Prague trials?
"How have you been able to reproduce the photograph of p. 45? Haven't you read Harwood's book, Did Six Million Really Die? And especially, the work of Udo Walendy, Bild "Dokumente" fur Geschichtschreibung, where this photograph is analyzed on pp. 74 and 75?
"By the way, I would like to mention to you that you photograph is a montage of a montage. Look at the way the head of the first person from the left is positioned on "his" shoulders(...)
"And the photograph on p. 93: the woman with bare breasts! How haven't you been able to detect that, there too, there was montage. Look at the head of "Photomaton"! (See Walendy, ibid, p. 23(...)
"How can you approve of such a propaganda that prepared the Nuremberg trial? Don't you remember the astounding article 19 of the statutes of the Tribunal: "The Tribunal shall not be bound by technical rules of evidence"? Isn't that a frightening cynicism? Shouldn't it cause the awakening of every honest man?
"I have been fiercely anti-Nazi. I cannot support fascism in any form. But [...] I beg you to always keep in mind the witch trials. Remember the "confessions," the "proofs" and the "testimonies." A witch is not going to say to the court: "You know very well that all this is false, that the witching hour is a fabrication and the encounters with the devil another fabrication." She would have encountered total disbelief. And yet, she would have told the truth. In order to defend himself, under the still prevailing old law, one had to plead the plausible and not the true.
"I had the occasion to tell you, and I will repeat here, that I am ready to open to you any of my files on this imposture of genocide. Many books are appearing on this question. The times are ripe."
Editorial staff comment:
It is possible that, in the vast iconography of the concentration camps, there were photographs truncated by montages or deformed by the accompanying legends. It is equally possible that fewer than six million Jews were exterminated in these camps. It is true that legends indicated gas chambers in several camps where there was none. But, had there been "only" two or three million victims, had there been no gas chambers in camps other than in Poland, the tragedy and the horror remain the same. And to compare countless testimonies, confessions and documents that prove the genocide to proofs that served to send witches to burn at the stake, is a challenge that we have neither the inclination nor the need to take up. (F.X.V.)
In the end, it's an extreme right publication, Defense de l'Occident, managed by Maurice Bardeche, an aknowledged fascist, that welcomed, in June 1978, the paper that Faurisson had been trying to publish for a long time. As he says in a note, "he obviously does not support the political opinions of his publisher."
(Footnotes are to be found at the end of the third part.)
Preceding --- Following
This text is the second chapter (2/3) of the second part of the unpublished English translation of Verite historique ou verite politique / Le dossier de l'affaire Faurisson / La question des chambres à gaz, published in Paris in April 1980 by the publishing house La Vieille Taupe (= the Old Mole). ISBN 2-903279-02-0. Copyright © 1978 by La Vieille Taupe. The book is still on sale and may be ordered from the publisher, BP 98-05, 75224 Paris cedex 05, France. We believe it costs 150 F (around 30-35 US$)
The original French text is available
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