- On May 30, 2007 Professor Robert Faurisson appeared before
the 11th section of the Court of Appeal in Paris regarding his conviction
of October 6, 2006 for comments made on the telephone and broadcast on
Iran's "Sahar 1" satellite television channel.
- Professor Faurisson's alleged "offence" was
to state in an interview, apparently given and transmitted on February
3, 2005, that during the Second World War there had never been any attempt
on the part of the German State at a physical extermination of Europe's
- Professor Faurisson told the court that he did not dispute
the fact that in the period in question there had been suffering and persecution
where the Jews were concerned: it was, for example, true that one fifth
of the Jews living in France were deported. But he disputed the war propaganda-based
account that has become entrenched in the historical record and according
to which there existed a National Socialist project to exterminate the
Jews. On the other hand, there had been an attempt to reach a "territorial
final solution" of the Jewish question, but the word "territorial"
was always left out by the propagandists, journalists and approved historians.
The "extermination" argument, for its part, was supported by
no evidence whatever, either material or documentary: so he declared, having
conducted, as he put it, a detective-style, rather than an academic, inquiry.
- Since 1990 the "Fabius-Gayssot Act" has prohibited
the public expression of such views in France. Between 2000 and 2005 Professor
Faurisson gave numerous interviews to journalists, amongst whom some Iranians,
in which he believed he could speak freely: hence his great surprise in
2006 at being prosecuted for this one.
- The European Court of Human Rights has already had occasion
to uphold and voice its approval of the "Fabius-Gayssot Act",
described by Professor Faurisson's barrister Eric Delcroix as an "assault"
on the French people's rights, in legal terms, an illegitimate, wrongful
official act and not a law, which the courts could, indeed must, refuse
- The core of the professor's defence was that he had expected
his interview to be broadcast or published only in Iran - most likely in
translation - a country with a quite different approach to the protection
of "human rights", and which, unlike France, allows the free
conduct of historical debate.
- No-one has yet answered Professor Faurisson's challenge,
first issued 28 years ago, to produce evidence of an order to kill the
European Jews, or evidence of any gas chamber used to such a purpose, or
even an explanation as to how, technically and physically speaking, such
a programme had been carried out. Instead of an answer, there stands the
February 1979 ukase of the late Pierre Vidal-Naquet, to which the political
and intellectual circles wholly subscribe, that no debate on the gas chambers'
existence can be held, that such questions simply must not be put.
- The only alleged "gas chamber" ever subjected
to official forensic examination - that of the Struthof-Natzweiler camp
in Alsace - was conclusively proved by French authorities not to have been
a "gas chamber". (The relevant report, signed in December 1945
by the dean of pharmacology in Paris, has ever since been suppressed, locked
away in the military archives.) Yet the French courts take no account of
such facts when hearing cases under the "Fabius-Gayssot Act".
- Last October Professor Faurisson was given a three month
suspended prison sentence for the telephone interview. At the appeal hearing
this May 30, the professor and his barrister faced not only the public
prosecutor and a panel of three judges, but also three hostile lawyers,
representing three separate "anti-racist" organisations, each
demanding financial compensation for the harm done to them by the professor's
brief exposé, to a journalist in a distant land, of the results
of his historical research.
- The public prosecutor asked for the retired professor's
suspended sentence to be at least doubled, from three months to six, while
one of the three "anti-racist" lawyers made a request for damages
in the same amount - ¤5,000 - as awarded in first instance to the
others, rather than the mere symbolic damages won by his group.
- The appeal court's judgment will be handed down on July