Exactitude – Robert Faurisson Turns 75
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On January 25, 1929, 75 years before this book was published, a extraordinarily courageous man was born: Robert Faurisson. When it comes to the remarkable scholarly work of Robert Faurisson, there are several matters to be kept distinctly in mind.
First of all is his method. Here, this French scholar follows traditional methods in historical research. He makes a distinction between primary and secondary sources. He submits the primary sources to a critical examination. If the primary sources are contradictory, unclear, or in conflict with logic or with the facts of natural sciences, he declares that they cannot be used for establishing how things really were. The primary sources in such cases tell us more about the individuals than about the matters, about which those individuals express themselves, be it by written or spoken words.
Faurisson's method is to a very large extent negative in the sense that it is critical and analytical. It points out errors, misunderstandings, plain nonsense, historical lies, and the like. In the field that he has chosen, there is at present not much room for purely constructive work. Negative criticism must clear away huge mountains of myth and legend and lies and distortions and, of course, that which is 'politically correct' in the field of the Jewish Holocaust Story. But what remains after the negative critique can be considered solid and reliable. Synthesis can only be made once critical scrutiny of a sharp analysis has finished its task.
Secondly, there is the main topic of research forced upon Faurisson: the question of the so-called gas chambers. About three decades of research have confirmed his initial suspicions: There is no scientific evidence available in support of the wide-spread belief in the existence of 'Nazi gas chambers' allegedly used for the deliberate murder of millions of Jews during WW II.
Had Faurisson limited his method to less emotional, to less controversial issues, he would have had no problems. He would have been merely another respectable French scholar. But he and other scholars, whose personal research has led them to the same or similar conclusions, have had nothing but problems.
The third matter is what is called 'the moral issue.' Clearly, it takes courage to advance and to defend the position that the so-called homicidal gas chambers – that is, extermination facilities designed, planned, budgeted, constructed, and used to murder human beings – are mere 'rumors.' Taking this position, one is immediately brought into conflict with the monster of public opinion. It takes strength and determination but also prudence to withstand the pressure of public opinion under such circumstances. But Robert Faurisson has withstood. His experience has led him to sum up the importance of the homicidal gas chamber issue in his famous four-words in English: "No holes? No Holocaust!" For only in English do "holes" and "Holo-" possess their powerfully homophonic capability to express Faurisson's findings.
The moral matter also has another and a broader aspect. It has to do with honor. If we are scholars, and if we are convinced that our method and our results are correct, we also have the duty to defend ourselves and to not defect from our positions. It is a well-know fact that Faurisson has stood almost alone, rejected by virtually all other scholars.
Here I see his greatest problem. Faurisson is not a madman. He is a man of intelligence, of wit, and of reason. The well-known French university professor Pierre Vidal-Naquet has said that if he could, he would kill Faurisson. It would have been better had he said that if he could he would refute Faurisson's stand on the gas chamber issue.
Thirty-four French scholars signed a public declaration to the effect that one must not ask how such a mass murder was technically possible. It was technically possible because it took place.
Today, in several countries it is even illegal to state publicly that there is no scientific evidence to support the rumors of the alleged gas chambers. The law courts, as a rule, consider it a given, an obvious datum of reality like the sun shining or rain falling that such instruments of mass murder once existed.
Faurisson has also boiled the results of his research down to powerful slogans, the most important being the above-quoted "No Holes? No Holocaust!" If there were no holes in the roofs of the alleged gas chambers of the crematoria II and III at Birkenau, and if this fact is not open to scientific examination by experts, then how can we trust 'survivors' as reliable 'witnesses' who claim that the lethal gas materials were poured down through non-existent holes? One might as well claim to be a survivor of an imaginary sinking ship on an imaginary ocean and then be angry when scientists refuse to accept the tale after being unable to locate the ship and the ocean.
In the recent book by Robert Jan van Pelt, The Case for Auschwitz. Evidence from the Irving Trial, there is a wonderful photo (authentic, no doubt!) showing: "Mark Bateman, Richard Rampton, the author, and Deborah Lipstadt discussing the problem of the holes, 1999." So, at least some scholars are willing to discuss how "it was technically possible". They seem to have grasped the no-holes-no-holocaust logic of Robert Faurisson, who is mentioned as the author of that slogan.
Now, what is van Pelt's solution to "the problem of the holes"? He does understand that they had to have been there if the Holocaust story is to be believed. But in 1999 they were not visible. For van Pelt, the holes, therefore, must have been made invisible by the crafty and evil Germans. Who, exactly, made them invisible? Why? How? When? These are questions, to which van Pelt and his little group give no answers. Many months later, van Pelt received a report. In it the authors claimed that they "had been able to identify precisely the location of the holes in the plan of the building."
So here we are now: The holes were there, but they cannot be seen. They can only be seen "by a computer model." Unfortunately, the report itself that makes the invisible visible has, to the best of my knowledge, not itself been made visible for scholars to see for themselves. These are strange behaviors!
Van Pelt's reasoning is, of course, illogical and absurd. Why not in similar fashion infer that because there were no African lions to be seen around crematoria II and III when van Pelt and his scholarly friends were there in 1999, there must, many years ago, if witnesses say so, have been lions around? What if other witnesses say that there were no lions?
But why waste more words on these absurdities! 'Holosophists' – if I may coin such a term – now claim the existence of transcendental holes! Holocaust becomes mysticism. What is really disturbing is that most establishment scholars are willing to deny the applicability of scientific methods and sound traditional source-criticism as a requirement for the Jewish Holocaust Story, and they seem to do this from fear of arriving at controversial results. If they are prepared to do so in one field, why should they not be prone to do so in other fields of research also? And, if so, how can we rely on the results they seem to have arrived at?
To put it briefly: freedom of research has become a serious problem. Perhaps the most important outcome of Faurisson's research and tenacity is our sad but necessary recognition that the old conflict between science and religion, between reason and faith is still very much alive. I once discussed the issue of freedom of speech and research with Faurisson. Faurisson insisted that freedom of research is the most important thing. He is right. What is the great value of freedom of speech if your opinions lack a firm scientific foundation?
Scholars should be the first to strike the alarm when freedom of research is at stake. They should defend the method used by Faurisson, even if it brings about results that are highly controversial and dangerous. The scholarly issue cannot be separated from the moral issue. Scholars must be willing to engage in an open, a free, and a rational debate even about controversial issues.
Experience has shown that scholars rarely are prepared to do so. In the long run their failure is bound to have serious consequences for our society. If sound scientific methods come under attack from Jewish or Christian or Moslem or Buddhist or Hindu mysticism, it is our duty to intervene in defense of science.
Freedom of research is surely a prerequisite for freedom of mind. Faurisson has often extolled revisionism as the great adventure at the end of the 20th century (and at the beginning of the 21st century, I may add). If 'adventure' means not only risky but also exciting, he is right. It is always fascinating and liberating to revise old views, to advance from ignorance to knowledge, from uncertainty to certainty. Such advance is a sort of liberation, freedom of mind. But let us never forget that freedom of mind is a Greek ideal, not at all a common human ideal. It is intimately related to a scientific habit of mind. Who, apart from a very small minority, cares about radical freedom for the mind, after all? There will always be revisionists of various sorts in new conflicts between science and religion, between knowledge and superstition. They will always be in trouble, the same sort of trouble they have always been in. New knowledge will also create new superstitions. For this reason, revisionists will also do well in keeping an eye on the humorous elements of their work, as some of them now do. Without some freedom of mind there is – seriously speaking – not much room for any sense of humor. The odds that revisionists are up against are not just enormous, awesome – they are often also ridiculous. One day, when time is opportune, we will experience politicians, journalists, and even 'respectable scholars,' slightly irritated, declaring to the public that "of course there were never any gas chambers." And there will be new lies. But there will be little or no humor, I fear!
Freedom of mind is also the only real source of tolerance. If you do not know from your own experience how difficult it can be to liberate yourself from ignorance – how can you be tolerant of the ignorance of others? So freedom of mind, it seems, is also a prerequisite for sympathy with other living creatures.
Where does hate come in? Revisionists are often condemned for the hate they harbor. The form of hate I can see is a strong aversion against stupidity, ignorance, intolerance, and similar vices. If so, then hate seems to serve as a synonym of a proper scholarly attitude.
Revisionists, I know, occasionally ask themselves: Why go on? Why always all these problems? Why lose your job? Why have your pension cut? Why not shut up? Why go to jail? Why be deprived of your civil rights? Why go into exile? For this is what revisionists normally have to suffer. My own answer would be: Because freedom of mind is a very precious matter. I would be absolutely miserable without it. Can other revisionists come up with better answers?
When I first took the initiative to prepare this collection of articles to honor Robert Faurisson, it was because I admired Dr. Faurisson for showing the courage to uphold scholarly standards in spite of so much adversity. I was also very uneasy about the silence of other scholars. It was my hope that the perspective could be somewhat broadened, that scholars who struggle against ignorance and superstition in entirely different areas nevertheless would see that they belong to the same community. But I fear that there is still a long way ahead of us in this respect.
In particular, I think that historians of religion can learn much from the study of Holocaust revisionism. Clearly, 'the Jewish Holocaust Story' has become a religious movement, with popes, priests, apostles, prophets, institutions, rituals, ceremonies, myths, holy days of remembrance, dogmas, bans, persecutions, and inquisitions! We know much more about the genesis of this new religion than we know about the genesis and early history of other world religions that appeal to personal faith, rather than to reason. In the long run, Holocaust revisionism may, if I am not mistaken, have its greatest value in the contributions it can render to the scientific study of the history of the three religions of Abraham. The careful documentation provided by Dr. Faurisson, now collected in the four volumes of the privately printed Écrits révisionnistes, 1999, covering the period from 1974-1998, will then prove to be a mine of precious scholarly information from many points of view.
The following articles in this issue of The Revisionist are dedicated to Dr. Robert Faurisson by his closest friends. That not all of his friends contributed to it, is mainly a result of restrictions of time and space. But we are sure that those, who were unable to contribute, join in with us in celebrating one of the greatest heroes of revisionist historiography, the greatest intellectual adventure of our times:
Happy Birthday, Robert!
|||Indiana University Press, Bloomington, IN, 2002, p. 411.|
|||Ibid., p. 501|
|||Ibid., p. 495; van Pelt presents on page 208 an artist's sketch of the alleged Michael Kula 'gas column,' of which eight are alleged to have been constructed in the metal fabrication shop by a Polish Catholic inmate from Auschwitz itself, Michael Kula. This very technical drawing was used as a basis for an actual model constructed in August 2002 for heuristic analysis by Robert H. Countess, which he designated 'the Kula Kolumn' and presented as a 'hands on' model at a lecture at a "Real History" conference near Cincinnati, OH, September 2nd. Along with Germar Rudolf, R. Countess concluded that the lack of documentary evidence, logic, as well as existing material traces indicate that such columns probably never existed, but certainly were never installed; see G. Rudolf, The Rudolf Report, Theses & Dissertations Press, Chicago 2003, pp. 113-133, as well as R.H. Countess' article in this issue of The Revisionist, p. 56.|
Additional information about this document
|Title:||Exactitude – Robert Faurisson Turns 75|
|Sources:||The Revisionist 2(1) (2004), pp. 5-7|
|First posted on CODOH:||July 10, 2012, 7 p.m.|