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|Born|| 25 January 1929 |
|Parents||Jessica Hay Aitken|
|Born|| 25 January 1929 |
|Parents||Jessica Hay Aitken|
Robert Faurisson (born 25 January 1929 in Shepperton, Surrey) is a French academic who is a Holocaust denier. Faurisson generated much controversy with a number of articles, published in the Journal of Historical Review and elsewhere, as well as various letters he has sent to French newspapers (especially Le Monde), which deny various aspects of the Holocaust, including the existence of homicidal gas chambers in Nazi concentration camps, the reality of the systematic killing of European Jews using gas during World War II, the authenticity of The Diary of Anne Frank, and the veracity of Elie Wiesel's accounts of his wartime suffering.
Faurisson is the son of a French father and a Scottish mother, Jessica Hay Aitken. He was trained as a professor of French literature, receiving his agrégation (license to teach) in 1956, and his doctorate in 1972. He was lecturer, then professor, of French literature at the University of Lyon between 1973 and 1990.
Faurisson's activism as a Holocaust denier first surfaced in 1974, when he contacted Yad Vashem with a lengthy letter detailing a variety of arguments which he claimed demonstrated that there had been no genocide of Jews during World War II. These assertions were based on his own interpretation of archival records and his skepticism about the assertions and testimony of various historical figures, including Nazi officials such as Rudolf Höss.
He became involved with the Institute for Historical Review during the 1970s, lecturing and publishing prolifically. He twice testified in defense of Canadian-German Holocaust denier Ernst Zündel, and his testimony has been associated with laying the groundwork for the "Leuchter Report", a Holocaust-denial publication which has been influential. Faurisson's activism garnered him several dedicated critics, including the Jewish French historian Pierre Vidal-Naquet.
In 1978, Faurisson authored a French-language text entitled "The Diary of Anne Frank—Is It Authentic?". It appeared in Dutch-language translation in 1985, with the modified title, "The Diary of Anne Frank—A Forgery". The text questioned various elements of the Diary of Anne Frank, including the use of a vacuum cleaner by the family while they were in hiding. Faurisson continued,
Vacuum cleaners at that time were exceptionally noisy. I must ask: 'Is this credible?' My question is not just a formality. It is not rhetorical. Its purpose is not to astonish. My question is simply a question. An answer will have to be found.
Faurisson interviewed Otto Frank in researching the article, though much of what Faurisson asserted Frank had said was later contradicted by Frank himself. Faurisson's writing on the subject first came into the spotlight amidst a court case between Otto Frank and Heinz Roth, a publishing-house owner who was responsible for the circulation of various neo-Nazi writings, including several publications impugning the authenticity of Anne Frank's diary; Faurisson's writing on the subject was entered into the court record as an expert opinion in defense of Roth. (The 1978 finding of the court was that Roth must refrain from publishing any more pamphlets claiming that the diary was a fraud.)
Further controversy was sparked when one of Faurisson's revisionist works was published with an introduction by Noam Chomsky. It turned out that the Chomsky piece was not written to be used as an introduction, although Chomsky had authorized its use to defend Faurisson in a different context. Chomsky's piece was a general defense of freedom of speech, including Faurisson's. Chomsky stated that he had "no evidence to support [the] conclusion" that Faurisson was antisemitic. Chomsky was accused of supporting Faurisson's views, rather than merely defending his right to speech, which Chomsky denied. Noting that he had described the Holocaust as "the most fantastic outburst of collective insanity in human history", Chomsky answered that his views were "diametrically opposed" to those of Faurisson on the subject.
In September 1989, Faurisson was beaten severely by unknown assailants who called themselves "The Sons of the Memory of the Jews". This is an organization about which nothing is known, either before or since the incident.
In 1991, Faurisson was removed from his university chair on the basis of his views under the Gayssot Act, a French statute passed in 1990 that prohibited Holocaust denial. He challenged the statute as a violation of international law at the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and Human Rights Committee. The Human Rights Committee upheld the Gayssot Act as necessary to counter possible antisemitism. Further trials followed; among them, one in connection with a publication on the website of the "Association des anciens amateurs de récits de guerre et d'Holocauste" (AAARGH) in 1998, of which he was absolved due to lack of evidence of his authorship.
Faurisson was charged again in a trial on 11 July 2006. He was accused of denying the Holocaust in an interview with the Iranian television station "Sahar 1" in February 2005. On 3 October 2006, he was given a three-month probationary sentence and fined €7,500 for this offence. In December 2006, Faurisson gave a speech at the International Conference to Review the Global Vision of the Holocaust, which was sponsored by the government of Iran. He repeated his theories about gas chambers and said that for the past 32 years, he has been waiting for someone to show him just one of those chambers.
Since late 2008, Faurisson has become close to the comedian and political activist Dieudonné M'bala M'bala, appearing with him publicly on stage and in video, and celebrating his 80th birthday in his theater. Dieudonné awarded Robert Faurisson an "insolent outcast" prize. The award was presented by one of Dieudonné's assistants, Jacky, dressed in a concentration camp uniform with a yellow badge. This earned Dieudonné another court conviction in a long series.