An Unexpected Turn of Events

Published: 1995-03-01

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Just before deadline for this issue of SR I received a letter from Robert Faurisson headed “For Publication.” Robert is the world’s leading Holocaust revisionist scholar, a friend, and one of those persons whom, when he asks me to publish something, I don’t have very many inclinations other than to publish, which I have done in this instance (see page one).

Faurisson’s letter dealt with the alleged gassing chamber at Struthof (Natzweiler) and contained an implicit, though not explicit, criticism of David Cole’s work. David had visited Struthof this past October in the company of Faurisson’s French publisher, Pierre Guillaume, with Henri Roques, author of The Gerstein “Confessions,” with Roques’ wife, and with Tristan Mordrel, French revisionist activist. I wrote about the visit in SR19.

When I received Faurisson’s letter for publication, David was preparing to fly to Tokyo to participate in a press conference in response to the closing of Marco Polo, a conservative Japanese monthly that had printed an article claiming that the German gassing chambers had not existed. In the rush of my own business I failed to forward a copy of Faurisson’s letter to Cole until after Cole returned from Japan.

When David returned from Tokyo I did fax him Faurisson’s letter and asked if he wanted to respond to it. David said he did, as it went to his credibility. As I was on deadline with SR I suggested David write something modest. I thought a single paragraph would do the trick. But David is not widely known for his modesty and he seldom takes suggestions from me about anything. In fact, in an overnight burst of unexpected energy, David responded volubly to Faurisson’s letter, extravagantly even. In effect, he issued a challenge to Faurisson to debate—of all things—the Struthof “gas chamber”! Cole’s letter is unusually provocative in that, on the one hand, it is an explicit criticism of Faurisson’s work on Struthof, and on the other postulates the “high likelihood” of homicidal “gassings” at Struthof.

None of this is what I expected. I suppose one of the charms of editing a newsletter is that from time to time something happens that you don’t expect. Postulating the “likelihood” of homicidal gassings at Struthof is going to make a lot of revisionists nervous. Even if Cole is right about Struthof, revisionist theory regarding gas chambers as a homicidal weapon of genocide, as opposed to random statements about it by some revisionists, remains undisturbed. Struthof has nothing to offer to those who chat about “genocide” being state policy under the Third Reich.

The revisionist community is a small one, and it’s under extreme social and political pressures. We tend to know each other, many of us are friends, and when an intellectual dispute arises in a community like ours it can quickly turn to personalities and passion. Editors don’t want to be caught in the middle of debates between friends, which all too often degenerate into bar room brawls where associates with similar interests and who might even be friends themselves become enemies overnight.

Nevertheless, this editor has decided that being caught in the middle of some of these brawls and risking friendships is one of the services he can provide his readers. So I wait with baited breath, as they say, wondering what’s coming down the pike.

Additional information about this document
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Author(s): Bradley R. Smith
Title: An Unexpected Turn of Events
Sources: Smith's Report, no. 21, March 1995, p. 2
Published: 1995-03-01
First posted on CODOH: Sept. 16, 2015, 1:03 p.m.
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