On the Publication of “The Problem of the Gas Chambers” by "Le Monde"
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This piece does not constitute a record of the debate on the question of the Nazi gas chambers. It is merely intended for the layman who would like to know the circumstances in which Le Monde, in 1978, came to give me the chance to express myself on that subject, and to have an idea of what has followed over the 34 years since.
To facilitate the reading of these lines I refrain from mentioning numerous sources, references and details which the reader may find mainly by turning to two texts on my blog: “The Victories of Revisionism” (December 11, 2006) and “The Victories of Revisionism (continued)” (September 11, 2011). For the same reason I also leave out any mention of a rather large number of articles from Le Monde and other publications, either French or foreign, on the “Faurisson affair” or “the affair of the gas chambers.” Supposing, finally, that a reader particularly keen to save time wants to get to the heart of the matter as quickly as possible, I advise a reading, all in all, of four Le Monde articles: firstly, the one that appeared in the edition of December 29, 1978, complemented by that of January 16, 1979 (“A letter from Mr Faurisson”), and, secondly, Jean Planchais’s “dossier” of February 21, 1979 on “the Nazi camps and the gas chambers”, which contains both Georges Wellers’s article entitled “‘Un roman inspiré’” (An Inspired Novel) and a long text bearing the title “La politique hitlérienne d’extermination : une déclaration d’historiens” (The Hitlerite Extermination Policy: A Declaration by Historians).
Signed by 34 historians, amongst whom Fernand Braudel, that declaration, decidedly hostile to me, is important. Taking note of the fact that my research had essentially led me to find that the case for the existence of the gas chambers ran into certain technical and physical impossibilities, those 34 professors concluded their declaration thus: “One must not ask oneself how, technically, such a mass-murder was possible. It was technically possible, since it happened. That is the requisite starting point for any historical inquiry into the subject. It is incumbent upon us to state this truth simply: there is not, there cannot be any debate on the existence of the gas chambers.” However, the debate would indeed take place, albeit sometimes in the very worst conditions for the revisionists – particularly in the law courts, both in France and elsewhere.
And that debate saw the victory of the revisionists. The general public is largely kept in ignorance of that victory but, thanks especially to the Internet, it is starting to suspect that, on the strictly historical and scientific level, the revisionists’ opponents have, for 34 years, proved incapable of meeting a challenge put to them in Le Monde on December 29, 1978. Eight months ago, in the editorial of December 23, 2011 entitled “Les lois mémorielles ne servent à rien. Hélas!” (The Memory-laws are of no use, alas!), those in charge of the paper, drawing up a sort of assessment, stated: “Since the passing of these laws, the deniers [that is, the revisionists - RF] and conspiracy theorists have become more established than ever, thanks to the Internet.” Reacting to that editorial, Serge Klarsfeld, on January 4, 2012, answered with a piece entitled: “Oui, les lois mémorielles sont indispensables,” in which he argued that the Gayssot Act “has muzzled historian Robert Faurisson and his followers, except on the Internet where the expression of such views is no more worthy of consideration than anonymous letters.”
S. Klarsfeld pretended to forget that since the introduction of the Fabius-Gayssot Act of July 13, 1990 I have published thousands of pages, mainly in a six-volume work to be completed in the near future by two more volumes. Of course, the revisionists are not at all “well established” since, unlike so many of their opponents, they assuredly do not enjoy a comfortable position, a solid fortune or an enviable reputation, but there is little doubt that their presence on the level of historiography has imposed itself and that the proponents of the official history have had to effect ever more concessions or retreats, if not outright capitulations.
So it is that history has won out over “Remembrance,” and this means all the more advancing of knowledge. Consequently, without wanting to, and even quite reluctantly indeed, the newspaper Le Monde, on December 29, 1978, gave impulse to a movement which, since Paul Rassinier in 1950 and Arthur Robert Butz in 1976, had refreshed and which still now, year by year, refreshes a bit more our view of the history of the Second World War.
Professor Robert Faurisson in 2003
Private photo from the Widmann Collection
Before December 29, 1978
In 1945 George Orwell put the following question: “Is it true about the German gas ovens in Poland?” (Notes on Nationalism, May 1945, reprinted in The Collected Essays, London, Penguin Books, 1978, p. 421).
In 1950 Paul Rassinier published Le Mensonge d’Ulysse: regard sur la littérature concentrationnaire (The Lies of Ulysses: A Look at the Concentration Camp Literature).
In 1951 Léon Poliakov wrote, on the subject of “the campaign of extermination of the Jews”: “No document remains, perhaps none has ever existed.”
In 1960, Martin Broszat stated: “Neither at Dachau, nor at Bergen-Belsen, nor at Buchenwald were any Jews or other detainees gassed.”
In 1968, Olga Wormser-Migot wrote, with regard to the gas chamber visited by millions of tourists at Auschwitz-I, that that camp was “without any gas chamber,” and she was skeptical with regard to Ravensbrück and Mauthausen.
In 1976 American professor Arthur Robert Butz published the first edition of his masterwork, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century.
For my part, on March 19, 1976 I discovered the building plans, kept hidden until then, of all the crematoria of Auschwitz and Birkenau: in those crematoria the rooms supposed to have been gas chambers absolutely could not have served as chemical slaughterhouses: they were mainly typical, classic holding rooms for corpses awaiting cremation (Leichenhalle, Leichenkeller...), spaces altogether devoid of the formidable machinery that would have been needed to carry out the evacuation of the hydrogen cyanide gas which, had it been used, would have permeated the surfaces and the bodies (see the American gas chamber functioning precisely with hydrogen cyanide gas).
From December 29, 1979 to the eve of the anti-revisionist law of July 13, 1990
In 1978-1979 I disclosed the results of my research. I was physically assaulted. Le Monde reported the assault but revealed nothing of my arguments with which, however, it was acquainted, since for four years I had spelt them out in submissions for articles or in letters that I had never been able to get published. Using the “right of reply” to the article on my assault, I asked the newspaper to print at last my two pages on “The Rumor of Auschwitz,” which it did on December 29, 1978. There ensued a flood of reactions and articles, both in France and abroad, as well as a big legal case against me for “personal injury” through “falsification of history.” On January 16, 1979, again using my right of reply, I published a follow-up to “The Rumor of Auschwitz,” in which I again put emphasis on the fact that belief in the alleged gas chambers ran into material or technical impossibilities, and that none of the testimonies invoked allowed one to conclude that those gas chambers had existed. The most important reply to my findings appeared on February 21, 1979. It was a declaration endorsed by 34 historians (see above). That declaration, which René Rémond refused to sign, amounted to running away from the difficulty of having to answer me; besides, from the time of the Nuremberg trials up to the present day never has a single forensic study describing the murder weapon and its operation been produced.
On March 5, 1979, Jean-Gabriel Cohn-Bendit wrote in Libération: “Let’s strive then for the destruction of those gas chambers that are shown to tourists at the camps where we now know there were none, lest people no longer believe us about what we are sure of.”
In 1979 the US government allowed two former members of the CIA to publish aerial photographs taken of Auschwitz during the war. These were meant by the authors as proof of “the Holocaust” but, in reality, they belie the existence of a whole set of material realities that would have accompanied the gassing and cremation, day after day, of thousands of victims; none of the photos taken during the 32 Allied air missions over the Auschwitz complex shows any queues outside the crematoria, and none reveals the existence of the veritable mountains of coke that would have been needed for huge cremations; the gardens adjacent to crematoria II and III, well laid out, bear no mark of constant daily trampling by victims; near them are to be seen a football field, a volleyball court, numerous hospital barracks, settling ponds, the vast “Sauna,” etc.
In 1982 an association was founded in Paris for “the study of killings by gas under the National Socialist regime” (ASSAG); in thirty years (1982-2012), it has found nothing to publish. With regard to the book Chambres à gaz, secret d’Etat, see my remarks in the text “Conclusions dans l’affaire Wellers” (pleadings in the Wellers case) in Ecrits révisionnistes (1974-1998), pp. 1001-1046, especially pp. 1020-1021.
In 1982 at the Sorbonne, under the supervision of Raymond Aron and François Furet, there was held a lengthy, non-public international symposium against R. Faurisson and “a handful of anarcho-communists” (an allusion to Pierre Guillaume, Serge Thion, Jean-Gabriel Cohn-Bendit, Jacob Assous, Claude Karnoouh, Jean-Luc Redlinski, Jean-Louis Tristani, Vincent Monteil, ...). The conclusion announced at the closing press conference, open to the public, was as follows: “despite the most erudite research” no order by Hitler to kill the Jews had been found. As for the gas chambers, not the least hint was uttered! It seems that the talk by Professor Arno Mayer had caused something of a stir (see below).
In 1983, on April 26, the protracted case brought against me in 1979 came to an end, on appeal. The Paris court of appeal (1st Chamber, Section A), addressing each of the charges, declared that it had found in my writings on the gas chambers no trace of 1) levity, 2) negligence, 3) willful ignorance, 4) lying and that, consequently, “the appraisal of the findings [on the subject] defended by Mr. Faurisson is a matter, therefore, solely for experts, historians and the public”. It nonetheless held me liable for, in short, malevolence (?). The fact remains that, in authorizing a public debate on the existence or non-existence of the gas chambers, this decision was to lead our accusers to demand the creation of a specific law designed to harness the judges: thus was born the Fabius-Gayssot Act of July 13, 1990.
Also in 1983, Simone Veil declared that “conclusive evidence” of the reality of the gas chambers could not be provided because “everyone knows that the Nazis destroyed the gas chambers” and “systematically did away with all the witnesses” (France-Soir Magazine, May 7, 1983, p. 47); but then, what value resides in the gas chambers shown to tourists, and what are the testimonies of the witnesses who speak or write about them worth?
In 1985 Raul Hilberg, Number One orthodox historian and author of the Number One “Holocaust” reference work, The Destruction of the European Jews, radically changed position in the second “and definitive” edition of his book. Three years earlier, in an interview with French journalist Guy Sitbon, R. Hilberg had had occasion to state: “I will say that, in a certain way, Faurisson and others, without wanting to, have done us a favor. They have raised questions that have the effect of engaging historians in new research. They have obliged us once again to collect information, to re-examine documents and to go further into the comprehension of what took place” (Le Nouvel Observateur, July 3-9, 1982, p. 71). Perhaps under the influence of “Faurisson and others,” he there completely relinquished the explanation given in his first edition, that of 1961, according to which the destruction of the Jews had been expressly ordered and conducted by Hitler. If his new explanation is to be believed, the destruction of European Jewry was decided and carried out without any order, “basic plan”, centralization, instructions or budget but all thanks to “an incredible meeting of minds, a consensus-mind reading by a far-flung bureaucracy,” that is, the German bureaucracy. The bureaucrats in question “created an atmosphere in which the formal, written word could gradually be abandoned as a modus operandi”. They indulged in “concealed operations” by means of “written directives not published,” “broad authorizations to subordinates, not published,” “oral directives and authorizations,” “basic understandings of officials resulting in decisions not requiring orders or explanations.” He concluded: “In the final analysis, the destruction of the Jews was not so much a product of laws and commands, as it was a matter of spirit, of shared comprehension, of consonance and synchronization,” and, rounding out this conclusion, he went so far as to write that “no special agency was created and no special budget was devised to destroy the Jews of Europe. Each organization was to play a specific role in the process, and each was to find the means to carry out its task” (The Destruction of the European Jews, New York, Holmes and Meier, 1985 edition in three volumes, p. 53-55, 62; the emphasis on certain words (in italics) is my own. See also the interview with Hilberg published in Le Monde des livres, October 20, 2006, p. 12).
From 1984 to 1986, a series of dramatic events occurred, especially that brought about in France by Henri Roques’s thesis on the “confessions” of SS man Kurt Gerstein, would show how vigorous revisionism was. In 1986 it was within the very committee on the history of the Second World War, directly linked to the Prime Minister's Office, that a new affair erupted. That body comprised a commission on the history of the deportation headed by a prestigious historian, Michel de Boüard. A former member of the resistance who had been interned in Mauthausen, a Roman Catholic, a Communist Party member (from 1942 to 1960) and dean of letters at the University of Caen (Normandy), he had testified to the existence of a gas chamber in the Mauthausen camp. But he was to take up the cause of both Henri Roques and the latter’s thesis panel, attacked from all sides. He went so far as to state that the dossier of the official history of the wartime deportations was “rotten” due to “a huge amount of made-up stories, inaccuracies stubbornly repeated – particularly where numbers are concerned –, amalgamations and generalizations.” Alluding to studies by the revisionists, he added that there were “on the other side, very carefully done critical studies demonstrating the inanity of those exaggerations.” Yes, he had formerly mentioned the existence of a gas chamber at Mauthausen; he admitted he was wrong: “It came in the package!” he confided during a meeting between the two of us that he himself had wished to have. He intended to write a book aimed at warning historians against the official history’s lies, but he fell ill and died on April 28, 1989 without having been able to complete the work.
In 1988, in the United States, an equally prestigious academic, Arno Mayer, professor of contemporary European history at Princeton University, published a book entitled, Why Did the Heavens not Darken? The “Final Solution” in History. Concerning the “Nazi gas chambers” he wrote: “Sources for the study of the gas chambers are at once rare and unreliable.” The phrase was worth contemplating for those who imagined that those sources were countless and rock-solid. And his subsequent considerations on the dead at Auschwitz and other camps were, if not revisionist in nature, at least rather close to revisionism, although, of course, A. Mayer missed no opportunity to remind us of his firm conviction that there had been killings in gas chambers.
Also in 1988, in Toronto, there took place the second trial of Ernst Zündel, lasting over four months. The first trial had been held in 1985 and had gone on for seven weeks. The transcriptions of the two trials bear witness to the fact that they were disastrous for the proponents of the official “Holocaust” story in general and for the case for the existence of the gas chambers in particular. In 1985 the aforementioned R. Hilberg had been put to rout in the course of a long cross-examination and Rudolf Vrba, the number one witness of the “gas chambers”, had suffered the same fate; the press reports of the time attest to this. In 1988 Fred Leuchter, execution gas chamber specialist in the United States, produced his famous 193-page expert report concluding not only that the alleged Nazi gas chambers of Auschwitz, Auschwitz-Birkenau and Majdanek had never existed, but also that they could not have existed, and this for reasons of a physical, chemical and architectural nature. He had gone on site with his team, carried out a minute study of the grounds and structures (whether in original state or in ruins), and then hired an independent laboratory to examine the sample fragments of masonry taken from the scene of the supposed crime. Other reports, amongst which that of Germar Rudolf, would later confirm the validity of his findings.
In 1989, Philippe Burrin published a book in which he did not dwell on the question of the gas chambers but where, in a general way, dealing with a policy of physical extermination of the Jews, he bemoaned the absence of clues of the crime, “the stubborn erasure of the trace of anyone’s passing through,” “the large gaps in the documentation” and the fact that such traces as there were “are not only few and far between, but difficult to interpret” (Hitler et les juifs / Génèse d’un génocide, Seuil, 1989, p. 9, 13).
On September 16, 1989 I was the victim of a particularly serious assault. In total, from November 1978 to May 1993, I was to suffer ten assaults in Lyon, Paris, Stockholm and Vichy. I cannot say how many court cases have been brought against me, or that I myself have had to bring, from 1978 till today. I shall not devote space here to the convictions, fines, police searches and seizures at my house and arrests for questioning. Unlike so many revisionists who have had to do years in prison (up to twelve years in one case), I have never been sentenced to actual imprisonment. At the age of 83, I have just been served notice of three criminal proceedings and a fourth looms likely.
Since the enactment of the anti-revisionist law (13 July 1990)
In 1990 the revisionists, with the introduction of the Fabius-Gayssot Act, saw confirmation that the opposing party, unable to answer them on the level of history and science, now possessed a formal weapon with which to enforce acceptance of the official history: it was henceforth plainly and simply forbidden to dispute “the existence of crimes against humanity” as defined and punished at Nuremberg (1945-1946) by the victors in the name of the “United Nations,” after establishing themselves as judges of their own vanquished enemy. The use of the Nazi gas chambers was, of course, part of these new crimes and denying it thus became an offence punishable by imprisonment, fines and various other penalties.
All to no avail for, from 1991 to 1994, historical revisionism, showing itself to be the great intellectual adventure of the end of the century, found, with its disputing of the existence of the gas chambers and the genocide, a powerful echo in Paris and elsewhere in France, as well as in Stockholm, London, Brussels, Munich, Vienna, Warsaw, Rome, Madrid, Boston, Los Angeles, Toronto, Melbourne and, later, in Tehran and the Arab-Moslem world. There was an increase in revisionist research and in the number of publications, in various languages.
1995 will stand out as a monumental year in the progress of revisionism.
The historian Eric Conan, co-author with Henry Rousso of Vichy: an Ever-Present Past, wrote in L'Express that I was right in affirming, in the late 1970s, that the gas chamber at Auschwitz visited by millions of tourists was completely fake. He specified: “Everything in it is false [...]. In the late 1970s, Robert Faurisson exploited these falsifications all the better as the museum administration balked at acknowledging them.” Continuing, he added: “[Some people] like Theo Klein [prefer that the gas chamber be left] in its present state, while explaining the misrepresentation to the public: ‘History is what it is; it suffices to tell it, even when it is not simple, rather than to add artifice to artifice’.” Conan reported a staggering remark by the deputy director of the Auschwitz National Museum who, for her part, could not resolve to explain the misrepresentation to the public. He wrote: “Krystina Oleksy [...] can’t bring herself to do so: ‘For the time being [the room designated as a gas chamber] is to be left “as is,” with nothing specified to the visitor. It’s too complicated. We’ll see to it later on’” (“Auschwitz: la mémoire du mal”, January 19-25, 1995, p. 68). In 1996 and in 2001 other authors, despite being hostile to revisionism, were in their turn to denounce, in France and abroad, the fraud made up by that alleged gas chamber. Today tourists and pilgrims still go on being fooled there, although I have personally alerted UNESCO itself of this persistence in fraud.
Also in 1995 there occurred an event so dire for the cause of the official history that it was to be kept hidden for five years; finally disclosed in 2000, even then it was reported with such discretion that still today, in 2012, it remains largely unknown. It involved Jean-Claude Pressac, protégé of the Klarsfelds, the paladin whose praises had been sung by Pierre Vidal-Naquet. The author in 1989 of a huge book in English, Auschwitz: Technique and Operation of the Gas Chambers and, in 1993, of a book in French, Les Crématoires d’Auschwitz, la machinerie du meurtre de masse, J.-C. Pressac, reeling from the crushing humiliation that my lawyer, Eric Delcroix, and I had inflicted on him during his appearance in the XVIIth chamber of the Paris criminal court, where we had subpoenaed him to testify, suddenly resolved to admit, in a piece dated June 15, 1995, that the whole dossier of the official history of the wartime deportations was “rotten” (a word taken from Michel de Boüard) with lies and bound “for the rubbish bins of history.”
In 1996, Jacques Baynac, a staunchly anti-revisionist French historian, ended up admitting that, all things considered, there was no proof of the existence of the Nazi gas chambers. He specifically remarked on “the absence of documents, traces or other material evidence.”
Still in 1996 and in the subsequent years as well, the Abbé Pierre-Garaudy affair and a number of cases brought for “disputing” the official truth would show how full of life revisionism was in France. In 1997 the case of secondary school teacher Vincent Reynouard, fired from his job because of his independent research, revealed the arrival on the scene of a young revisionist with a promising future.
In 2000, during the libel case that the semi-revisionist David Irving had brought in London against Deborah Lipstadt for her having called him a “Holocaust denier,” the Canadian expert Robert Jan van Pelt, of Jewish background, who had strived doggedly to find proof of the existence of real Nazi gas chambers at Auschwitz, was reduced to asserting his mere “moral certainty” of that existence. As for Judge Charles Gray, he was to state in his ruling that “the contemporaneous documents […] yield little clear evidence of the existence of gas chambers designed to kill humans.” He added: “I have to confess that, in common I suspect with most other people, I had supposed that the evidence of mass extermination of Jews in the gas chambers at Auschwitz was compelling. I have, however, set aside this preconception when assessing the evidence adduced by the parties in these proceedings.”
From 2001 to 2009 the situation only worsened in France and the rest of the world for those upholding the belief in “the Holocaust” and, particularly, in the Nazi gas chambers. Proof and examples of this are to be found on my blog. I shall mention here only one bit of evidence and one example, both concerning the researcher whom I sometimes call “the last of the Mohicans of the Holocaust cause.” I mean the aforementioned R. J. van Pelt, professor of architecture at the University of Waterloo (Ontario, Canada). After the Irving-Lipstadt trial, he had not wanted to remain only “morally certain.” On the contrary: he continued his research. Alas, like his French predecessor, the pharmacist Jean-Claude Pressac, he would have to surrender. On December 27, 2009 the coup de grace was given to the myth of the gas chambers at Auschwitz. That day a reporter for the Toronto Star revealed that, for R. J. van Pelt, there was little sense in preserving the Auschwitz-Birkenau complex. Speaking of what we were supposed to know about the camp (that is, for example, that it had possessed gas chambers for mass killings), the professor said: “Ninety-nine percent of what we know we do not actually have the physical evidence to prove.” For him it was better to let nature take its course at Auschwitz instead of spending so much money on the conservation of buildings, ruins or material objects.
As of August 20, 2012, the state of things is disastrous for the upholders of the official version and altogether positive for the revisionists. The former have all power at their disposal, including the public forces, with the politicians, judges and police, and especially with the obedient journalists. Whereas only a category of judges has proved servile, the journalists, with rare exceptions, have rushed headlong into utter servility. As for the professors, academics, intellectuals with influence, too many have distinguished themselves only by blindness or cowardice. When the day comes and it is finally time to admit that the alleged Nazi gas chambers never existed any more than Jewish soap or Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction, will decent people, in their dismay, call the “elites” to account? They ought to do so, but will steer clear of it. For, in this case – one of the most serious frauds that history has ever known – the “elites” have, after all, only been the mirror image of their public. When we reread Céline, we see that he said everything there was to say on the subject, without illusions, without bitterness, with no call for vengeance, no sense of being above the rest of us: as a man, quite simply, and sometimes with a smile of indulgence.
August 20, 2012
Afterword / Author’s note
On August 20 in Paris and on August 21 elsewhere, Le Monde produced an article entitled “29 décembre 1978: Le jour où Le Monde a publié la tribune de Faurisson” (The day Le Monde published a column by Faurisson, p. 12-13). Written by Ariane Chemin, a “people” journalist to whom I gave an interview on August 1 at my home, it contains forty ad hominem attacks, and the number of actual arguments amounts to ... zero.
Article originally published in French at http://robertfaurisson.blogspot.fr under the title Le 29 décembre 1978, « Le Monde » publiait, sous ma signature, « Le problème des chambres à gaz ou 'la rumeur d' Auschwitz » (20 August 2012).
|||Rassinier’s book, The Lies of Ulysses: a Look at the concentration camp literature is included in the English-language anthology, The Holocaust Story and the Lies of Ulysses (Costa Mesa, Calif.: Institute for Historical Review, 1978).|
|||Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century: The Case against the presumed Extermination of European Jewry (Torrance, Calif.: Institute for Historical Review, 1977).|
|||Dino A. Brugioni and Robert G. Poirer, The Holocaust Revisited: A Retrospective Analysis of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Extermination Complex (Washington DC: Central Intelligence Agency, 1979). (Interestingly, twenty years later Dino Brugioni published a book entitled Photo Fakery: The History and Techniques of Photographic Deception and Manipulation – Ed.)|
|||Arno J. Mayer, Why Did the Heavens not Darken? The “Final Solution” in History (New York: Pantheon Books, 1988).|
|||Germar Rudolf, The Rudolf Report: Expert Report on Chemical and Technical Aspects of the ‘Gas Chambers’ of Auschwitz (Chicago: Theses & Dissertations Press, 2003).|
|||Louis-Ferdinand Céline (27 May 1894 – 1 July 1961) is considered one of the most influential writers of the twentieth century. He developed a new style of writing that modernized literature both in France and abroad - Ed.|
Additional information about this document
|Title:||On the Publication of “The Problem of the Gas Chambers” by "Le Monde"|
|Sources:||Inconvenient History, 5(4) (2013)|
|First posted on CODOH:||Feb. 19, 2014, 6 p.m.|