French Court Fines Faurisson, Roques for Revisionist Book

Pressac Breaks Down on Witness Stand
Published: 1995-09-01

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For writing and distributing a book that disputes claims of mass killings in German gas chambers during World War II, two French revisionist scholars have been ordered by a Paris court to pay fines of $3,000 each.

The offending 90-page book, written by Prof. Robert Faurisson, is entitled Reponse a Jean-Claude Pressac sur le problème des chambres à gaz ("Response to Jean-Claude Pressac on the problem of the gas chambers"). Henri Roques is director of RHR [Révue d'Historire Révissioniste], distributor of the January 1994 publication.

Faurisson and Roques were charged with violating France's anti-revisionist "Fabius-Gayssot" law, which makes it a crime to "contest crimes against humanity" as defined by the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal of 1945-46. The case came to trial on May 9 before a Paris court.

Pressac's Disastrous Testimony

At Faurisson's urging, French Holocaust researcher Jean-Claude Pressac was subpoenaed to testify. The performance on the witness stand of this author of several acclaimed anti-revisionist books was the high point of the trial. It proved to be a "major disaster" for the suburban pharmacist, says Faurisson.

In his first question, Faurisson's attorney asked:

On page two of your book [Les Crématoires d'Auschwitz], you promise your reader "a historical reconstruction free at last of oral or written testimonies, which are always fallible and become even more so with time." Well, on page 34, when you mention the "first gassing perpetrated in the camp of Auschwitz," you refer, in so many words, only to "testimonies." How do you explain this contradiction?

Pressac responded by attempting to evade the question, a maneuver he used in dealing with the questions that followed.

Pressac was also asked: "Considering that in your book there are 60 illustrations (photos, plans, drawings), show us a photo or drawing of a Nazi [execution] gas chamber." Extremely nervous and agitated, he cited a March 1942 German plan entitled "Arrangement of the ventilation and exhaust conduits." (For several years Faurisson has repeatedly stressed that in none of his books, and most notably in his 564-page 1989 book about Auschwitz, has Pressac ever provided a full picture of a German homicidal gas chamber along with an explanation of its technique and operation.)

Because such evasiveness was making him look like a fool, two of the three judges (there was no jury) put some questions of their own to Pressac. This also proved to be a waste of time. Still unable to give clear answers, Pressac seemed extraordinarily confused. Instead of answering, he responded with phrases such as "Do not ask me the impossible" and "You must understand I am alone in my battle." At one point he suddenly shouted to Faurisson and his lawyer: "Your Leuchter himself concluded that gas chambers had existed in Auschwitz!" He nearly broke down and cried.

The judges appeared to be utterly dismayed by Pressac's performance, and the entire courtroom audience seemed flabbergasted.

'Lenient' Punishment

During the proceeding the state prosecutor asked the court to punish Faurisson with a non-suspended sentence of three months imprisonment. However, when the judges met on June 13 to announce the guilty verdicts, they instead ordered the defendants to pay a fine of 30,200 francs (about $6,000).

Actually, comments Faurisson, this sentence is surprisingly mild. The court's relative leniency, he says, is due largely to Pressac's performance.

Meanwhile, Faurisson faces two trials on February 1, 1996, because of an article he wrote against France's anti-revisionist law that was published in a 1990 issue of the French magazine Le Choc du

A more detailed report on the May 9 trial and Faurisson's continuing legal battle will appear in a forthcoming issue of the Journal.

Idealistic but Practical

"Let us boldly face the life of strife, resolute to do our duty well and manfully; resolute to upphold righteousness by deed, by word; resolute to be both honest and brave, to serve high ideals, yet to use practical methods. Above all, let us shrink from no strife, moral or physical, within or without the nation, provided we are certain that the strife is Justified."
—Theodore Roosevelt Speech in Chicago April 10, 1899

Additional information about this document
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Author(s): Robert Faurisson , Mark Weber
Title: French Court Fines Faurisson, Roques for Revisionist Book, Pressac Breaks Down on Witness Stand
Sources: The Journal of Historical Review, vol. 15, no. 5 (September/October 1995), p. 14
Published: 1995-09-01
First posted on CODOH: Dec. 22, 2012, 6 p.m.
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