Robert Faurisson, retired professor — the University of Lyon — is considered the leading Holocaust revisionist scholar in Europe today. His early revisionist writings include "The «Problem of the Gas Chambers»" (published in France's leading daily Le Monde, which stirred up a storm) and an investigation into the diary of Anne Frank. Later he was to prove to be of invaluable assistance at the Ernst Zündel "Holocaust" trials in Toronto, and was the key player in convincing Fred Leuchter to initiate a forensic investigation of "gas chambers" at Auschwitz.
As with his most recent paper, "Punishment of Germans, by German Authorities, for Mistreatment of Jews During World War II", Dr. Faurisson has repeatedly removed the toupee from the bald-face lies of the establishment's Holocaust desirers. He has played perhaps the primary role in France in convincing the cultural establishment, and the State, that it is to their best interest to outlaw any attempt to question the judgment of the Nuremberg court (usually without citing said judgment within the anti revisionist laws), first in France, and now throughout much of Western Europe.
One interesting irony in Dr. Faurisson's life at this time is that this autumn when his two grandsons return to school they will take their first instruction on what is proper, and improper, to think about the "Holocaust" and what penalties are in place to punish those who ask the wrong questions, or the right questions from the wrong perspective. Their grandfather will no doubt be mentioned by name as one who has been prosecuted by the State for such thought crimes again and again. It might be said that in their classroom, Dr. Faurisson's grandchildren will likely become associated with — perhaps the victims of — "hate crimes" themselves.
We took advantage of Dr. Faurisson's attendance at the Institute of Historical Review's 14th Conference to record this audio interview with him.
Phil Sanchez: Dr. Faurisson, you have had conversations of one sort or another with numerous Holocaust desirers, such as Michael Berenbaum, Debbie Lipstadt, Otto Frank, Raul Hilberg, etc. Do you have opinions about any of them being honest about their believing the Holocaust tales?
Dr. Faurisson: First of all, I had a conversation with Michael Berenbaum in the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. I remember exactly when: it was on the 30th of August 1994. In 1989, Deborah Lipstadt visited me in Vichy. In 1977, I visited Otto Frank in Basel, Switzerland, and I had a conversation with him, on the first day, for five hours and, on the second day, for four hours.
As for Raul Hilberg, I had no conversation with him but I met him at the Ernst Zündel trial in 1985 in Toronto, Canada, when questions were put to him while he was a witness for the prosecution. Those questions were put to him by Douglas Christie, the defense lawyer of Ernst Zündel, but most of them had been written by myself. It was an opportunity for me to ask questions of Raul Hilberg and for Raul Hilberg to answer, or to try to answer. Now to go to your own question: you ask me if I had an opinion about any of them being honest or about them really believing the Holocaust tales. Is that right?
A: I am unable to answer your question because I do not know whether the people, either on my side or against me, are sincere or not. It is difficult for me to judge if someone is sincere. To judge the sincerity of someone you need perhaps weeks, months, years. It is difficult to judge. And that's why, in fact, I am not very interested in the question of sincerity. What I am interested in is: what this man, or this woman, is saying. Is it exact, or not? I don't say true; as you know, I say exact. And take the story — I don't say the history, but the story — of the Holocaust. Of course, for me, it's totally inexact. I say totally. And I can prove it. At least I think that I can prove it.
Now for Berenbaum, Deborah Lipstadt, Otto Frank, Raul Hilberg — with Otto Frank it wasn't about the Holocaust, it was about the Anne Frank Diary, okay? — you could divide those people into two camps. In the first camp we have people who are lying, perhaps because they think that it's necessary, sometimes it is to lie for a good cause. That's possible. It's possible that they are in a way sincere. That will be the first camp.
Then you have the mass of those people who really believe, because they heard about it. If you take Berenbaum, Deborah Lipstadt, Raul Hilberg, you can say that they have a responsibility when they say, for instance, that there was an order to kill the Jews or that there was a plan to kill the Jews; they have a responsibility to demonstrate that. But other people, the mass of people who believe in the Holocaust, they have no responsibility. They are only repeating what they have heard.
I am sorry because of my poor English that I can not say in English what I say in French, which is that you have, on the one hand, les menteurs, and, on the other hand, les bonimenteurs. It is a play on words. Those who lie and those who repeat lies that they have heard from others. Boniment means gossip. They are gossiping. Do you say that in English? To gossip? I don't know.
Q: That's a funny way of putting it, the take on it.
A: Okay. So I would say that there are the liars and that there are the gossipers, something like that.
Q: I think that is so with some of them. I think that with Debbie Lipstadt, or the guy in Switzerland who recently wrote a book (Fragments) about being raised in the concentration camps and then he was proved totally false.
A: Yes. Yes.
Q: I can't remember his name.
A: I remember, but whatever, okay.
Q: Lipstadt said that, even though the book is not factual, it's still good as Holocaust literature. And that's what I'm wondering. Perhaps she did not believe it but she thought the literature is still important? I'm wondering how you felt, maybe you didn't speak with her long enough to have an opinion.
A: At the time Deborah Lipstadt visited me, it was before Benjamin Wilkomirski. His pen name was Benjamin Wilkomirski, his real name being either Bruno Grosjean or Bruno Doessekker. Anyway, he was lying. And he wasn't a Jew. So, as you know, he is being put on trial by the Jewish organizations.
Q: Oh, he was put on trial?
A: He is currently on trial, I think. Or it's coming, I don't know. So, of course, I understand very well that people, even like Hilberg or Deborah Lipstadt, could think: "Anyway, true or not, sincere or not, it serves the cause, our good cause". But this you have everywhere; not only Jews are like that. You have that in the Catholic religion; you have what we call le pieux mensonge, the pious lie. So everybody may be like that, you see.
Q: Do you know about Raul Hilberg having some sort of relationship with Norman Finkelstein? I don't know if he is giving him information but do you think Raul Hilberg will come around to seeing the Holocaust in the same way revisionists do, or is that just too far- fetched?
A: I think it's too far-fetched. What I know is that the situation of Raul Hilberg is perfectly tragic. This man is, I think, something like seventy-five today. This man in 1948 began to work on what today we call the Holocaust. In 1961 he published the first edition of his book (The Destruction of the European Jews). In that book he dared to say, at that time, that there were two orders coming from Hitler to kill the Jews. He said that there was a plan to kill the Jews, that there were instructions given to kill the Jews, and so on.
And, in 1985, came the tragedy of Raul Hilberg when he was on the witness stand. Because at that time, he had really changed his story and he was ready to publish the second edition of his book. A really different one, which appeared in the middle of 1985. To give you an example of how much he changed his story, this very man who had said that there were two orders from Hitler to kill the Jews and who was asked to show those orders was, of course, unable to show them. And he came up with a strange theory which is this one: he said that we don't need to suppose that there was an order, or orders, we don't need to think that there was a plan, no.
What happened was, according to the new Hilberg, "an incredible meeting of minds, a consensus mindreading by a far-flung bureaucracy", meaning the German bureaucracy! Which means that it is an explanation by telepathy! This man, supposed to be a scholar, first said that he had proofs, and then he had to confess that there were no proofs, but "an incredible meeting of minds, a consensus mind-reading by a far-flung bureaucracy". This is a total defeat.
At one point, I remember, all those who attended the trial remember very well, Hilberg said, "I am at a loss."
Q: I remember reading that actually, in Michael Hoffinan's book.
A: That is about Raul Hilberg. That's the only thing that I can say. Recently he published a book, a tiny book, the title being something like
Sources of Holocaust Research: An Analysis. You should read it. Nothing. It's like a void, totally void. You have nothing. Nothing is left. All this formidable building, hammered. It is like the towers in New York. The tower of Raul Hilberg does not exist anymore.
Q: Regarding your run-ins with Jean-Claude Pressac. He seems to be seeking something from you. What is it that Pressac wants?
A: Now, Pressac also is finished. You should know that even Berenbaum and all those people, they do not want to have anything to do anymore with Jean-Claude Pressac. Jean-Claude Pressac is a poor guy. He was a man of the extreme Right. I learned this a few months after meeting him for the first time. He was engaged by Klarsfeld to write an enormous book. A really silly one. The title was: Auschwitz: Technique and Operation of the Gas Chambers, published in 1989. In fact you had nothing in it at all on the gas chambers; you had many things on the crematories and so on, the ovens, but only speculations about the gas chambers.
Q: The ventilation.
A: The ventilation, yes! [laughter] He ventilates very much. You see, it's wind. It's only wind. It's air. A-I-R. Okay? Excuse my pronunciation. I noticed that sometimes he would say that he had been first on my side. And that then he left me because he had discovered that I was wrong. Now, wait a minute. First of all, never did Pressac visit me where I live in Vichy [in the center of France]. Second: I saw him only at Pierre Guillaume's house, in Paris. And he was coming back and coming back, asking me for documents and so on. I saw very quickly that this man was unbalanced, not strong at all, and that I was wasting my time.
I told him: "You see, Pressac, I am tired. I am overworked. Please, leave me. I have nothing to tell you!'.
But he came to see me again and he said: "I would like to have a conversation with you". I said: "Pressac, once more. I have no time. Now, if really you want to have a conversation, I want you to tape it because you keep constantly saying that you have not said what you have said. So I want to catch you at your words".
And he said, "Oh no. I don't want that".
"So, then," I said. "You must get out!" And it was finished.
Q: What about in court?
A: Oh, in court. The poor guy. In 1995 he came to court. I must say that, in 1993, he had published another book. The title in French was Les Crématoires d'Auschwitz: la machinerie du meurtre de masse (The Crematories of Auschwitz: The Machinery of Mass Murder). At that time I was being sued, once more, I was on trial. I had decided with my defense lawyer to summon Pressac. I thought he would not come. But to my surprise, he came. The poor guy came. I had no right, myself, to ask him any question. Only my defense lawyer had the right to put some questions to him. I decided that the essential question would be very short and very clear.
So I said to my defense lawyer: "You have only one question to ask him." The question was: "Mr. Pressac, in your book, we have sixty photos, documents, illustrations. Could you show us only one photo, document or drawing showing us a Nazi gas chamber?" Of course, there were none. There was not one photo. You cannot have a photo of something, which is technically impossible. So he went on, speaking about aeration and ventilation once more [laughter].
And suddenly, as he was not answering the question, the lady — we had three judges, the presiding judge being a lady — said: "Mr. Pressac, you say ventilator, ventilator, but a ventilator, it's to ventilate" [laughter]. She was a little bit naive perhaps. I don't know. She made Pressac understand that he was not at all addressing the question.
And Pressac suddenly said: "You see, you must understand, my life is very difficult, I cannot be here and there. You must understand, I cannot". So Pressac also was "at a loss." And Pressac also is really finished.
Something else. A book appeared in 2000 written by a young lady, who came and visited me in Vichy. The book was totally against us: Histoire du négationnisme en France (History of Holocaust Denial in France). Her name is Valérie Igounet. In it she published a long interview with Pressac. And mind you, at the end of his interview, Pressac has taken a nearly total revisionist position. He now says that the dossier (meaning the dossier of the people against the revisionists) is rotten to the core.
Pressac said: "We cannot save it anymore. It is finished".
Q: You once said that in France during World War II there were two Resistance movements; one against the Nazi occupation and a second one against the Communist terror. Could you, please, elaborate on the difference between the two but also go into some detail about the second?
A: In France they constantly say la résistance (the Resistance). They constantly talk about la résistance. Even, with time going on, they now don't talk anymore exactly about résistants, but about grands résistants. It's always a grande résistance. All those people are supposed to have been grands résistants.
And this is partly a joke of mine. I ask: "Oh, you say Resistance! What do you mean by Resistance?" And the people answer: "Of course, resistance against Germany" And I say: "Okay, I see, but you know, there was another resistance. The people on the other side from yours were convinced that they were also resistants. But resistants against Communism, against Communist terror in France."
It began in June 1941 and went until at least the Bloody Summer of 1944. You cannot imagine, today, the power at that time of the French Communist party, and how many people it killed because those "collaborators" were, or were supposedly, on the side of the Germans. You had very sincere French people on the side of the Germans. They were not in love with Adolf Hitler or even with the German people. They thought that the big danger for Europe and for France were Communists coming with the Red Army. They wondered where the Red Army would stop. That was their question.
In June 1942, Pierre Laval, who was a kind of prime minister, with Marshall Pétain, said: "I hope that Germany will win". I guarantee you that Pierre Laval was not at all in love with the Germans. He added: "because, otherwise, we will have Communism all over Europe."
So, I warn you to be careful with this word of Resistance since, you see, most of the time people think of themselves as courageous, which is not really the case. Most people are cowards. But they think that they are courageous. They are courageous because they resist something. During the war, you had those people resisting the German occupation, but you also had people resisting the Communists who were assassinating so many French people at that time.
Q: Were there trials for these murders?
A: Of course not. As usual, if you were on the good side, you got medals, respect, money. If you were on the other side, it was exactly the opposite. That's life. You must not be vanquished, that's all.
Q: So, after France was no longer under German Occupation, there were no murder trials for murders that were committed by the Communists during the Occupation?
A: We had very few of them. And once those people were sentenced very, very few of them — they were, how do you say, "pardoned"? Yes. There was an automatic amnesty, according to a decision of the government of De Gaulle. They decided that everything, — listen to this, it's fantastic — everything which had been done "in order to liberate France" until the First of January 1946 should be pardoned — do you understand? Nineteen forty-six The war, remember, had ended on the 8th of May 1945, and the last town in France was liberated in December 1944. The simple fact that we had an amnesty for everything which had been done [laughter] during, let's say, the whole of 1945, means that they kept on killing people.
A: Reprisals. Yes.
Q: I don't know if this is a question that you can answer, but it was a particularly French Communist group or were they just a Soviet puppet group?
A: No, a real and sincere Communism.
Q: They did not want to be a puppet of the Soviet Union? They were French Communists?
A: Absolute puppets, but I would say sincere puppets.
Q: Now, about the way laws are written and made in France. Perhaps I am mistaken, but I thought that there are a number of anti-revisionist laws made specifically to deal with you. Are you ever consulted for the name given to each of these laws?
A: Consulted? Do you mean, was I consulted?
A: No, of course not. And, in fact, we have only one specific law.
Q: What is the name of it?
A: We call it sometimes, Loi Gayssol, which is the name of a Communist, but sometimes also we call it Loi Fabius-Gayssot. Fabius is a very rich Jew, a Socialist but extremely rich. So, the anti-revisionist law of 1990 is a Jewish-Socialist-Communist law. Sometimes, only among the people in the Paris courtrooms, they call it Lex Faurissonia, which, in rather poor Latin means "The Faurisson law". It is a law of the 13th of July 1990. What is interesting is that it was published in the Journal Officiel de la République Française on the 14th of July 1990, which is Bastille Day, and you know that Bastille Day is supposedly the day of Liberty. So, that's it.
Let me tell you that I have been sued myself in the name of other laws. I have been sued so many times that I cannot give you even an idea about how many times. I have been sued before 1990. Before this specific law. For instance, under a law saying that racism is forbidden. They decided that, by denying the existence of the genocide of the Jews and the existence of the so-called Nazi gas chambers, I was committing a racist crime. Denying is their word. In fact, I am not denying anything. I am affirming, after research, that there is absolutely no proof of this crime. Okay. Or they would claim that I was defaming the Jews.
Q: Defaming the dead?
A: The dead. That's it.
Q: Is there anyone trying to remove these undemocratic laws in your country?
A: It's impossible.
Q: It's impossible?
A: It's impossible. Let me tell you something rather sad, but I expected it. You have some extremists in France of the Right. Their names, one name is very well known, Jean-Marie Le Pen, and the other one is Bruno Maigret. Okay. Both of those people, a few years ago, in their program had one point which was "we want the suppression of those laws against free expression." A law of 1972 and this one of 1990. They do not mention that anymore. They are afraid to say "We want those laws to disappear." They don't dare say it anymore. It's still in the printed program, the old one, but for the elections, they didn't mention that because they know that if they say that again they are going to be accused by Jewish organizations of being on the side of the "deniers." So they are shy. They are shy.
Q: Okay, here's maybe an odd question, I'm not sure: It has been said that in France Holocaust revisionism is a field embraced mostly by Leftists and former Leftists? How is this?
A: My answer is that at the beginning, yes, because Paul Rassinier himself had been a Communist and then a Socialist. People like Pierre Guillaume, Serge Thion, Gabor Tamas Rittersporn, who is a Jew, and other people were coming from the Left, or a Left that you could call sometimes Left and sometimes only Libertarian. Some of those people were even Jews, like Jean-Gabriel Cohn-Bendit, the brother of the famous Danny the Red. He was a revisionist in '79, '80, but all those people except Pierre Guillaume and Serge Thion, abandoned revisionism. Sometimes they recanted even. It's a taboo, you see. It's very, very difficult. To fight for revisionism, it's possible for a limited time, but to fight for years and years, that is very difficult. It's a kind of slow suicide.
Q: Are you at liberty to discuss relationship with former situationists and their followers?
A: I will say so now you see. Situationists are like those animals, how do you call those animals that disappeared from the surface?
A: Dinosaurs. Situationists are something like dinosaurs, so I don't know anymore any situationists. There are still some. I have a name, I don't know if I can mention him so I am not going to mention him. He is rather important and we could say that he was something of a situationist. Mind you, some people, even very important people, very important, confidentially, and accidentally, told me that they were on my side but of course they asked me not to mention their name. I must say that there are very few. But there are some.
Q: Do you have a last word?
A: People very often ask me "why do you do what you do? Why do you keep on battling? Why do you want other people to join you and get in this battle?"
And I say that, in fact, I do not know [laughter]. I do not know why.
I know someone who in 1979, when he received me at the Kennedy airport in New York — he was of German extraction and this gentleman told me, "Oh, it is wonderful what you are doing for Germany." And I said, "Oh sir, I am not doing it for Germany." And he said, "So, why are you doing it?" And I say," I do it the same way the bird sings."
You see — [laughter] — I am now 73 [laughter]. The bird has lost his plumage. Part of its plumage, at least. And he keeps singing. He doesn't know why. And the minute before he dies he is still singing. That's the only thing I could say.
I would say also that during the war I was very much against the German people. It was inhuman the way I was. I thought that the German people — although they did behave very correctly, I saw thousands of those soldiers, and they behaved very correctly — I thought that they had to be killed. When I heard that Hamburg was so heavily bombed I thought to myself, three thousand tons of bombs, why not six million ... ? I mean [laughter]. No, not six million [laughter]. You see, why...
Q: Twice as much.
A: Why not twice as much? Yes. And suddenly after the war I realized that in fact they were human beings. You can be a Nazi, a Communist, a Jew, a non-Jew, and you are still a human being.
So at the age of, let's say, 17, I was profoundly disgusted by the Nuremberg Trial. Profoundly. Now I am 73 and I am just as overwhelmed and as indignant as a young man of 17. I should not be like that [laughter]. At 73 it should have stopped. But it has not stopped, and I don't think that it will stop until I die. No, I don't think so.
This interview is available on CD and cassette at
Smith's report on the Holocaust controversy, number 95, December 2002, p. 4-8 (Post Office Box 439016, San Ysidro, CA 92143, USA).