Robert Faurisson and Revisionism in Italy
By Carlo Mattogno
In August 1979, the well-established magazine "Storia Illustrata" published an interview given to Antonio Pitamitz by Robert Faurisson, which has become a milestone along the road of historical revisionism. At the time, I had already started to devote myself to revisionism, and through this text with its clear, essential, and convincing statements I really became involved. My first contact with Prof. Faurisson was in writing and took place in April, 1981. In 1980, he had published his first major revisionist work, which I read with great interest. In December, I wrote a letter to the publisher of the book, Serge Thion, which he passed on to Prof. Faurisson who answered me personally in April, 1981. From early 1984 onwards, we entertained an intensive correspondence that lasted until 1995. When it began, I was about to publish, after more than six years of preparation, my first revisionist book, which came out in the following year. Faurisson always stood by me with help and advice, which contributed to the development of my historical approach. His versatile mind, his great capacity of intuition, his fine critical sense, and his mastery of the daily press and periodic publications were extraordinary and fascinating.
In the spring of 1987, the first issue of the review Annales de l'Histoire Révisonniste was published in France; the main article was the translation of one of my first books, entitled "The Myth of the Extermination of the Jews. Historical and Biographical Introduction to Revisionist Historical Writings". That led to my first personal meeting with Prof. Faurisson. Because of his concern with precise details in all aspects, beginning with the verification of sources, he wanted to check with me the correctness of the translation and of the references cited. In January of 1987, he was my guest for several days of feverish work, interrupted by very pleasant conversations. Over the next few years, I had the occasion of meeting him several times, both in the US and in Germany.
|Carlo Mattogno, Italian citizen, was born in Italy in 1951 and resides in the province of Rome. After studies in the humanities, he became involved in historical revisionism at the end of the seventies. His first publication appeared in 1985. Since then he has authored more than twenty books and pamphlets, three of which are co-authored with Jürgen Graf, and numerous articles, the more important of which appeared in the magazine Vierteljahreshefte für freie Geschichtsforschung. For more information see www.russgranata.com|
From the publication of the interview in Storia Illustrata onwards, Italy witnessed a series of ugly slanders against Prof. Faurisson. The most active medium was the Jewish review Shalom, which managed to print in February of 1987 that Faurisson had "died recently"! This campaign, based as it was on lies and systematic bad faith, was so disgusting that on every occasion I tried to re-establish the truth. It began in 1987 with a "Note on the Wellers-Faurisson polemics," which I placed as an appendix to the essay Auschwitz, le Confessioni di Höss. The book Olocausto: Dilettanti allo Sbaraglio contains a long and detailed refutation of the pseudo-scientific statements of Pierre Vidal-Naquet, one of the most ferocious and insulting critics of Prof. Faurisson. Over more than 70 pages of dense criticism I unmasked the lies of this mediocre amateur in the field of holocaust and revisionist history, who pretended to have "dismantled the lies" of Prof. Faurisson! Afraid of a direct confrontation with him, Pierre Vidal-Naquet devised the famous motto - later to be adopted by the rest of the crowd - that while it was necessary to discuss revisionism, one did not care to meet the revisionists.
In a further study, dedicated to the followers of the historical aberrations of Pierre Vidal-Naquet, I wrote about him:
"It was he who began to discredit the revisionists, claiming that they used working methods and sophistications, which he himself had chosen to use against them; he fled from a confrontation with Faurisson - who would inevitably have unmasked those manipulations - and solemnly proclaimed the principle that it is acceptable to discuss revisionism but not to discuss with revisionists. Lacking any arguments, P. Vidal-Naquet has officially taken over the libelous thesis of the neo-Nazi and anti-Semitic foundations of revisionism, later to be perfected by Deborah Lipstadt. [...] All this was made worse by an unforeseen obstacle: since the publication of the Leuchter Report in 1988, revisionism has made such progress, has placed its center of gravity so well on the historical stage that it has completely escaped from the reach of the Great Golem of anti-negationism and its disciples. Finally, in 1991, George Wellers, the mastermind of Pierre Vidal-Naquet, died, cutting off the lifeline of this passive follower who, having lost his supplier of arguments and methods, suffered a mental collapse."
According to the legend, the cabbalist rabbi Loew, who lived in Prague at the time of Rudolf II, made an artificial human being from clay; the creature became animated when the rabbi placed into its mouth a slip of paper containing the magic formula of life, and froze, lifeless, when the paper was removed. Once G. Wellers was dead, the paper with the magic formula of thought was removed from the mouth of Pierre Vidal-Naquet; thereupon his mind turned blank and his desperate attempts at confounding Prof. Faurisson in terms of historical argumentation failed miserably. Since then, brain-dead, he has only been capable of slander.
Another attack upon Prof. Faurisson (and against myself) was launched in 1998 by a young researcher with ambitions towards a university career. This woman, Valentina Pisanty, had obtained a doctorate in semiotics from the University of Bologna and had written a book about the interpretations of the story of Little Red Riding-Hood. That was her only qualification! Given her specialty, she confused history with the fables she was used to and wrote a book of fables about revisionism, which I promptly refuted in my study L'"irritante questione" delle camere a gas ovvero da Cappuccetto Rosso ad... Auschwitz. Risposta a Valentina Pisanty (The "irritating question" of the gas chambers, or from Little Red Riding-Hood to... Auschwitz. An Answer to Valentina Pisanty). The book written by this specialist of Little Red Riding-Hood contains a collection of errors on Prof. Faurisson, such as:
"In fact, Faurisson states that all documentary material going back to the post-war period is the result of a well-made historical falsification."
Let us not even talk about the gross attacks by a certain Francesco Germinario who dared declare that Robert Faurisson denied the existence of cremation ovens in the German concentration camps! In this regard, it is now the established methodical practice of the official historians that whoever wants to face the topic of revisionism has to proffer new lies about Prof. Faurisson. In an essay to be published shortly, I have shown to what extent the Jewish writers Michael Shermer and Alex Grobman have adopted this practice in a recent antirevisionist book, in which they cover Robert Faurisson with new and delirious lies.
The fact that I have always tried to unmask such lies does not mean, obviously, that I am a blind and total follower of Prof. Faurisson. If all revisionist scholars were always in agreement on all points it would indeed be a cause for worry. The viewpoints of the various parties involved in revisionism are quite diverse. Professor Faurisson maintained initially that the task of revisionism had already been essentially fulfilled by 1979, and the axiom he proclaimed at the time left no room for error:
"The existence of gas chambers is radically impossible."
It was now only a matter of making known, or, at the most, to underpin by means of documentation this axiom, which needed no further proof.
This led him to an exceptional activity of documentary work, which is borne out by his collected writings in four volumes and which testifies to his truly extraordinary mastery of the daily press, pertinent magazines, and specific literature. Other scholars, like me, have considered Faurisson's work to be not a goal in itself but nothing more than an indispensable point of departure. To clarify this essential aspect of the question, it is necessary to look at the significance of the former French resistance fighter Paul Rassinier for the birth of historical revisionism. In a book mentioned above, I wrote in this respect:
"Rassinier is indeed the founder of present-day revisionism - this cannot be denied - but he is not its master, nor are the modern revisionists his pupils. Rassinier has catalyzed the attention of several scholars in the direction of one topic, has shown them a way, but then those scholars moved ahead on their own steam, checking his methods and his arguments, and leaving aside anything that was doubtful or unfounded in them. Modern revisionism stems from Rassinier only historically, but not methodically or in its arguments, and it is therefore an illusion to believe that by striking down Rassinier's theses revisionism itself can be put to rest."
While Rassinier has laid the historical foundations of revisionism, Faurisson's significant contribution has been to supply it with a method and a scientific base. At his side we find the American Arthur Butz, author of the 1976 exhaustive and far-reaching work on the subject of the alleged Holocaust, and the German Wilhelm Stäglich, the famous author of the book Der Auschwitz-Mythos: Legende oder Wirklichkeit?
In his thirty years of work, Faurisson has collected and made available to the public an enormous mass of knowledge, often sprinkled with strokes of intuition, which he has coined into lapidary mottos that have become proverbial, such as "No Holes, no Holocaust," which compresses into four words the impossibility of mass gassings of Jews in the alleged gas chambers of Crematorium II at Birkenau on account of the absence of openings in the ceiling of that building, which have allegedly been used for the introduction of Zyklon B pellets.
Another great merit of Robert Faurisson has been to open up new avenues of research, and that corresponds to a step beyond his initial position, dictated by the need to break into the official culture by means of a thesis, which necessarily had to be apodictic if it was to have a shocking effect. The most important path that he traced out was, no doubt, the introduction of chemical and physical verification criteria into the problem of the gas chambers. It is well known that he was at the origin of the visit to an execution chamber in an American penitentiary for the purpose of investigating the structure and the operation of such an installation. His was the idea of a technical investigation of the alleged homicidal gas chambers of Auschwitz-Birkenau and Majdanek.
In practice, he had the idea of the Leuchter Report, which was written under enormous time pressure, a fact that explains most of the deficiencies of this report, some of which are quite serious. The report was launched and realized in a hurry during the course of the second Zündel trial, which took place from January to April 1988. It is necessary to add, though, that the criticism of the Leuchter Report, coming from the official historiographers, shows holes that are even more serious. During the libel trial against Deborah Lipstadt by David Irving, which lasted from January to April 2000, attempts were made at proving the 'fallacy' of the Leuchter Report on the grounds that Leuchter had based his calculations upon a concentration of the hydrocyanic acid in the alleged homicidal gas chambers of 3,200 ppm (or 3.84 grams per cubic meter), equal to the concentration used in the American execution facilities. The defendants argued that even a concentration of 300 ppm (or 0.36 g/m3) would have been lethal and that this could have been reduced even further, to 100 ppm (or 0.12 g/m3), thereby obviating the need for a ventilation system and leading to insignificant traces of cyanide in the walls of the alleged homicidal gas chambers. This argument, taken into account by judge Charles Gray in the formulation of his verdict, is, however, absolutely inconsistent with reality.
As early as 1987, in the essay "Nota sulla polemica Wellers-Faurisson", I proved, on the basis of the declarations of Rudolf Höß, that the concentration of hydrocyanic acid in the alleged homicidal gas chambers at Auschwitz-Birkenau would not have stood at less than 15.87 g/m3 or 13,225 ppm, more than 4 times as high as what Leuchter asserted, and 44 to 132 times as high as the figures advanced by his adversaries! Over a period of 12 years, they have not been able to come up with anything better than this absurdity. The road shown by Robert Faurisson has turned out to be even more rewarding, as was shown by Germar Rudolf who, in his expert report, raised the original intuition, which gave rise to the Leuchter Report, to a scientific level.
Other scholars, after having by necessity followed the traces of Prof. Faurisson over a certain stretch, have been compelled to introduce new kinds of proof and have delved into archives or traveled to the sites of the alleged exterminations for an inspection and a study of those localities. Actually, he himself had been the first to devote himself to a similar activity, spending considerable time in the archives of the Centre de Documentation Juive Contemporaine in Paris from early 1974 until July 1977 and visiting various former German concentration camps, such as Auschwitz, Majdanek, Treblinka, Struthof, Sachsenhausen, and Ravensbrück.
In the 1990s, after the fall of the Soviet regime and the subsequent opening of the formerly secret archives, these scholars had the opportunity to do a systematic search of documents in the ex-Soviet archives, and not only there. For example, Jürgen Graf and I, together or individually, were able to visit archives and recover documents in Moscow, Warsaw, Lodz, Lublin, Auschwitz, Stutthof, Prague, Bratislava, Koblenz, Weimar, Budapest, Kaunas, Amsterdam, Theresienstadt/Terezin, Lvov, and Minsk. Furthermore, alone or together, we visited the camps of Auschwitz-Birkenau, Dachau, Mauthausen, Gusen, Buchenwald, Lublin-Majdanek, Stutthof, Belzec, Sobibor, Treblinka, Gross-Rosen, Plaszow, the Terezin ghetto, and Fort IX at Kaunas. When the first issue of Vierteljahreshefte für freie Geschichtsforschung appeared in March of 1997, this research was ably coordinated by Germar Rudolf, the editor and publisher of this journal, which always maintains a high scientific level of historical research. Since 2003, Rudolf publishes this periodical also in the English language with the title The Revisionist. Thus, aside from being himself a brilliant scientist, Rudolf pursues an impressive editorial policy of great merit.
The new documentation that was collected over many years of research in archives has allowed revisionist historians to make enormous progress and to face even more efficiently the propaganda of the official writings, which stemmed from the need to proceed with accusations based on sham legality and which grew on a bed of lies and hate. Jürgen Graf and I contributed our share to this cause in the form of three monographs:
The recently published second edition of the joint work Dissecting the Holocaust. The Growing Critique of 'Truth' and 'Memory,' edited by Germar Rudolf, represents the sum total of revisionism as it now stands, and contains the better part of present-day knowledge, proofs, and arguments.
My own contributions to the progress of revisionism began in 1985 with the publication of Il rapporto Gerstein. Anatomia di un falso, for which I used the copious wealth of archival documentation, which I had been able to identify in the preceding years. In January of 1984, at a time when the work was already finished, I sent a few selected pages to Pierre Guillaume to allow him to judge the contents, hoping that it could be published in French. Towards the end of the month, I received an answer from Prof. Faurisson in the name of P. Guillaume, stating his appreciation of the extract I had sent and saying that they had been "très agréablement surpris" (very pleasantly surprised) to discover a text which was "manifestement de haute qualité scientifique" (obviously of high scientific quality). This praise caused me to persevere in revisionist studies.
Until the end of 1989, I maintained a correspondence with various archives in Europe, America, and Israel and received by mail the documents I needed. In 1989, I made my first visit to the Museum and the Camp at Auschwitz and began to collect directly the photocopies of the original documents in the archives. This work resulted in the book Auschwitz: la prima gasazione, a critical and detailed analysis refuting the alleged first homicidal gassing in the basement of Block 11 of the Auschwitz camp, which had served as a model of further assumed gassings. In 1994, I published a reply to the second book on Auschwitz by Jean-Claude Pressac, entitled Auschwitz fine di una leggenda. Together with the refutation by Prof. Faurisson and contributions by other scholars it was included in the work organized and edited by Germar Rudolf Auschwitz: Nackte Fakten. Eine Erwiderung an Jean-Claude Pressac.
From 1995 on, I had access to the documents in Moscow and elsewhere, as I mentioned above. Thanks to these sources, I wrote a book on the structure and operation of the Central Construction Office at Auschwitz, entitled La "Zentralbauleitung der Waffen-SS und Polizei Auschwitz," as well as an essay under the title "Sonderbehandlung" ad Auschwitz. Genesi e significato, both containing a wealth of documents in the appendix, and finally an extensive two-volume work on the history and the technicalities of the cremation ovens at Auschwitz, not yet published. From June 1997 onwards, many of my articles appeared also in the journal Vierteljahreshefte für freie Geschichtsschreibung, and since 2003 also in the English sister magazine The Revisionist. The fact that my correspondence with Prof. Faurisson ceased in 1995, the year in which I first visited the Moscow archives together with Jürgen Graf and Russell Granata, is not just a coincidence. From that time on, our positions with respect to the tasks of revisionist research and to the value of historical results achieved by it were too far apart and collisions were inevitable.
The controversy, which was reported in the press between Prof. Faurisson and myself in connection with the book KL Majdanek. Eine historische und technische Studie mentioned above, is the indication of a latent conflict that materialized as we went different paths. Differences of this type also exist among other students of revisionism and prove that the fables brought forth by Deborah Lipstadt - of a presumed Nazi-revisionist conspiracy aimed at rehabilitating National Socialism - are without foundation.
What causes revisionism to make progress, what gives it life and keeps it from becoming a petrified dogma like the official writing of history is, in fact, the existence of substantially differing opinions within its ranks. If the debate follows an objective path, as it should be, opposing argument against argument without degenerating into sterile personal polemics, it can only enrich revisionism, urging students to bolster their arguments, to correct them, to find new kinds of argumentation and, if need be, to change their own orientations.
No kind of divergence should, however, be prejudicial to mutual respect and appreciation. This goes all the more for a personality like Robert Faurisson who has dedicated some thirty years of his life to revisionism, paying for it dearly in terms of daily defamations, painful physical attacks, and permanent legal harassment. In spite of all this, he never let himself be trapped, he has always prevailed, and that should be taken as an admonishment and an example by all students of revisionism.
|||"La più inquietante affermazione che sia mai stata avanzata da uno storico di professione. Robert Faurisson, 'le camere a gas non sono mai esistite'", (The most disturbing assertion ever advanced by a professional historian. R. Faurisson, "The gas chambers did not exist") Storia Illustrata, no. 261, August 1979, pp. 15-35.|
|||S. Thion (ed.), Vérité historique ou vérité politique? Le dossier de l'affaire Faurisson. La question des chambres à gaz. La Vieille Taupe, Paris 1980.|
|||Il mito dello sterminio ebraico. Introduzione storico-bibliografica alla storiografia revisionista. Sentinella d'Italia, Monfalcone 1985.|
|||Annales d'Histoire Révisionniste, no. 1, Spring 1987, pp. 15-107 (Pierre Guillaume was the publisher of this periodical); English: "The Myth of the Extermination of the Jews," The Journal of Historical Review, 8(2) (1988), pp. 133-172; ibid., 8(3) (1988), p. 261-302.|
|||Shalom, no. 2, February 28, 1987, p. 10.|
|||Edizioni La Sfinge, Parma 1987, pp. 33-39.|
|||Edizioni di Ar, , Padova 1996, pp. 11-82.|
|||Olocausto: dilettanti a convegno, Effepi, Genova 2002, p. 79.|
|||L'irritante questione delle camere a gas. Logica del negazionismo. Bompiani, Milano 1998.|
|||Graphos, Genova 1998.|
|||V. Pisanty, op. cit. (note ), p. 73.|
|||I dedicated pp. 35-59 of the cited book Olocausto: dilettanti a convegno to absurd statements by official historiography (regarding the above-mentioned accusations against R. Faurisson see p. 43).|
|||"'Denying History:' the false 'convergence of evidence' of the 'Holocaust'", The Revisionist, 2 (2004), in preparation.|
|||Denying History. Who Says the Holocaust never Happened and Why Do They Say it. University of California, Berkeley, Los Angeles, London, 2002.|
|||R. Faurisson, Écrits Révisionnistes (1974-1998). Édition privée hors-commerce. © Robert Faurisson, 1999.|
|||Olocausto: Dilettanti allo sbaraglio, op. cit. (note ), p. 275.|
|||As certain French anti-revisionists insist in doing, see in this regard: Florent Brayard, Comment l'idée vint à M. Rassinier. Naissance du révisionnisme. Fayard, Paris 1996; and Nadine Fresco, Fabrication d'un antisémite, Seuil-La librairie du XXème siècle, 1999.|
|||The Hoax of the Twentieth Century. Historical Review Press, 1976; revised 3rd edition: Theses & Dissertations Press, Chicago 2003.|
|||Grabert-Verlag, Tübingen 1979. English translation: The Auschwitz Myth: A Judge Looks at the Evidence, Institute for Historical Review, Newport Beach, CA 1986.|
|||D.D. Guttenplan, Processo all'Olocausto. Corbaccio, Milano 2001, p. 167. Trial Irving vs. Lipstadt, verdict of Justice Gray, April 11, 2000, para. 7.89.|
|||Trial Irving vs. Lipstadt, verdict of Justice C. Gray, April 11, 2000, para.7.89.|
|||Das Rudolf Gutachten. Gutachten über die "Gaskammern" von Auschwitz. Castle Hill Publishers, Hastings 2001; English translation: The Rudolf Report. Expert Report on Chemical and Technical Aspects of the "Gas Chambers" of Auschwitz, Theses & Dissertations Press, Chicago 2003.|
|||English translation: Concentration Camp Majdanek. A Historical and Technical Study. Theses & Dissertations Press, Chicago 2003.|
|||English translation: Concentration Camp Stutthof and its Function in National Socialist Jewish Policy. Theses & Dissertations Press, Chicago 2003; Italian version: KL Stutthof. Il campo di concentramento di Stutthof e la sua funzione nella politica ebraica nazionalsocialista. Effepi, Genova 2002.|
|||English translation: Treblinka. Extermination Camp or Transit Camp?, Theses & Dissertation Press, Chicago 2004.|
|||2nd ed., Theses & Dissertations Press, Chicago 2003.|
|||Sentinella d'Italia, Monfalcone 1985.|
|||Edizioni di Ar, Padova 1992.|
|||Les crématoires d'Auschwitz. La machinerie du meurtre de masse. CNRS Editions, Paris 1993.|
|||Edizioni di Ar, Padova 1994.|
|||Stiftung Vrij Historisch Onderzoek, Berchem 1995. An English translation "Auschwitz: Plain Facts" is available online at www.vho.org/GB/Books/anf|
|||Edizioni di Ar, Padova 1998.|
|||Edizioni di Ar, Padova 2000; Engl. translation: Special Treatment in Auschwitz. Genesis and Significance, Theses & Dissertations Press, Chicago, in preparation.|
|||R. Faurisson, "Eine Revisionistische Monographie über Majdanek," in: Vierteljahreshefte für freie Geschichtsforschung, 3(2) (1999), pp. 209-212. C. Mattogno, "The Robert Faurisson Critique of KL Majdanek: Eine historische und technische Studie," in: http://www.russgranata.com/faur-eng.html.|
Source: The Revisionist 2(1) (2004), pp. 24-28.
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