- The Journal for Historical Review Date: March/April 1998
Issue: Volume 17, number 2, Page 19
- Robert Faurisson is Europe's leading Holocaust revisionist
scholar. He was educated at the Paris Sorbonne, and served as a professor
at the University of Lyon in France from 1974 until 1990. His writings
on the Holocaust issue have appeared in two books and numerous scholarly
articles. This essay, less the final section headed "Why Such Reticence?,"
was published in the New Year's Day, 1998, editions of the French periodicals
Rivarol ("Avez-vous des textes?" p. 2), and, with some slight
modifications, in National Hebdo ("Précisions sur le détail,"
- On the subject of the Nazi gas chambers, Jean-Marie Le
Pen recently stated: "If you take a thousand-page book on the Second
World War, the concentration camps occupy two pages and the gas chambers
ten or fifteen lines, and that's called a detail."
- He might have brought up some even harder hitting and
more precise arguments, and referred to Eisenhower, Churchill, de Gaulle,
Elie Wiesel, René Rémond, Daniel Goldhagen, and even the
text of the Nuremberg Tribunal judgment.
- Eisenhower, Churchill, de Gaulle
- Three of the best known works on the Second World War
are General Eisenhower's Crusade in Europe (New York: Doubleday [Country
Life Press], 1948), Winston Churchill's The Second World War (London: Cassell,
6 vols., 1948-1954), and the Mémoires de guerre of General de Gaulle
(Paris: Plon, 3 vols., 1954-1959). In these three works not the least mention
of Nazi gas chambers is to be found.
- Eisenhower's Crusade in Europe is a book of 559 pages;
the six volumes of Churchill's Second World War total 4,448 pages; and
de Gaulle's three-volume Mémoires de guerre is 2,054 pages. In this
mass of writing, which altogether totals 7,061 pages (not including the
introductory parts), published from 1948 to 1959, one will find no mention
either of Nazi "gas chambers," a "genocide" of the
Jews, or of "six million" Jewish victims of the war.
- Elie Wiesel
- The same goes for the autobiographical account, Night
(New York: Hill and Wang, 1960), in which Elie Wiesel relates his experience
of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. Moreover, in the first volume of his memoirs,
All Rivers Run to the Sea (New York: Random House/Knopf, 1995, p. 74),
he writes, "Let the gas chambers remain closed to prying eyes, and
- René Rémond
- In the third volume of his Introduction à l'histoire
de notre temps ("Introduction to the History of Our Times"),
René Rémond, who was then president of the commission on
the history of the deportation within the Comité d'histoire de la
Deuxième Guerre mondiale (Committee on the History of the Second
World War), made no mention whatsoever of these gas chambers (Le XXe siècle
de 1914 à nos jours ["The 20th Century from 1914 to the Present"],
Le Seuil, 1974). Fourteen years later, when he had become president of
the Institut d'histoire du temps présent (Institute of Contemporary
History), once again he made no mention of them in a 1,013-page work entitled
Notre Siècle de 1918 à 1988 ("Our Century from 1916
to 1988," Paris: Fayard, 1988).
- Daniel Jonah Goldhagen
- Since March 1996, the Jewish-American historian Daniel
Jonah Goldhagen has been treated as the darling of the media the world
over, thanks to his book Hitler's Willing Executioners: Ordinary Germans
and the Holocaust (New York: Knopf, 1996, xiv-634 pp.). While he does mention
Nazi gas chambers, it is for little more than to note that "their
efficiency has been greatly overstated" (p. 10), and that they have
always been, and wrongly, "the overwhelming focus of popular and even
scholarly attention" (p. 165). Goldhagen goes as far as to declare
that "gassing was really epiphenomenal to the Germans' slaughter of
the Jews" (p. 533, n. 81) and that "the imbalance of attention
devoted to the gas chambers needs to be corrected" (p. 535).
- The Nuremberg Judgment
- France's Fabius-Gayssot law of 1990 specifically forbids
the "challenging" or "contesting" of the portions of
the judgment of the International Military Tribunal of Nuremberg (September
30 and October 1, 1946) relating to "crimes against humanity,"
including the use of execution gas chambers. But it is noteworthy that,
of the 84,000 words of the judgment's text (in the French version), only
520, extremely vague, are devoted to gas chambers. This is 1/160th of the
entire text, or 0.62 percent. In other words, 99.38 percent of the judgment
does not deal with these gas chambers.
- Why Such Reticence?
- Why were Eisenhower, Churchill, de Gaulle, Elie Wiesel,
René Rémond, Daniel Goldhagen, and the Nuremberg Tribunal
so reserved on the subject of the Nazi gas chambers? Of course, revisionists
have explanations for this reticence that, however, the Fabius-Gayssot
law forbids us to make public in France.
- My own explanations, which cannot be published in France
without committing a crime, would include the following:
- 1. The Nazi extermination gas chambers never existed.
- 2. Eisenhower, Churchill, and de Gaulle knew or suspected
that their own governments' propaganda about gas chambers was not true.
(Thus, on August 30, 1943, US Secretary of State Cordell Hull wrote to
Standley, US Ambassador in Moscow: "... there is insufficient evidence
to justify the statement regarding execution in gas chambers" [Foreign
Relations of the United States: Diplomatic Papers 1943. US Government Printing
Office, 1963, vol. 1, p. 416])
- 3. Elie Wiesel probably now regrets that he did not
mention gas chambers in his autobiographical work, Night.
- 4. René Rémond revealed to me in November
1978 that he was "ready to follow [me] on the gas chamber matter."
- 5. Goldhagen probably realizes that the gas chamber
story is fishy, and, anyway, prefers to insist on killing methods that
permit him to accuse millions of Germans of complicity in crimes, rather
than emphasize a specific killing method that implies only a handful of
- 6. The Nuremberg Tribunal judges had nothing substantive
to say about the gas chambers because they understood that no investigation
had been conducted as to the specifics of the "murder weapon,"
and because neither the "witnesses" nor former Auschwitz commandant
Rudolf Höss had been asked hard specific questions about the gas chambers.