Institute for Historical Review
Paul Rassinier was born on March 18, 1906, in Beaumont, a small village near Montbéliard, the son of a farmer. He received his formal education in the schools of the area and passed the necessary examinations which allowed him to teach history and geography at the secondary school level and to use the title of "professor." He taught in the secondary school at Faubourg de Montbéliard where students were prepared to take the "brevet," an examination that is somewhat inferior to that examination which is taken by students in the lycées who desire to matriculate at the university. It was at this school that he was arrested by the Gestapo in October 1943.
Having joined the Socialist Party, SFIO, in 1934, Paul Rassinier became the head of that party in the Belfort area when the war broke out in 1939. Following the German occupation of France, he participated in the founding of the "Libre Nord" organization which became involved in various forms of "passive resistance," including the smuggling of Jewish refugees over the Franco-Swiss border into Switzerland in cooperation with the Swiss Jewish Committee. Rassinier's activities eventually came to the attention of the German authorities who caused him to be arrested and to be deported to the concentration camp at Buchenwald. Later he was sent to the camp at Dora where he was incarcerated until the end of the war.
Upon his liberation in 1945, he returned to France where he was elected to the Assemblée Nationale as a Socialist deputy. He served for one year and then retired He was awarded the highest decoration which the French government bestowed for service in the wartime resistance movement. Due to his frail health, a consequence of his two years of imprisonment at Buchenwald and Dora, he retired from teaching and received a small pension from the French government. He died on July 29. 1967, at his home in Asnieres, near Paris. He is survived by his wife, Jeanette, and his only son, Jean-Paul, who is a practising physician
In every respect, Paul Rassinier was a remarkable man of his time -- out of the ordinary, we are tempted to write -- a man to whom can be immediately attributed these three essential qualities, all of which are rather rare today in a single person: courage, honesty and ability.
As a professor of history and geography. he could have had a brilliant and lucrative career in these disciplines if he had confined himself to the "official history" -- i.e. the "official false history that is taught ad usum Delphini" and of which Balzac spoke -- and if he had not opted for historical revisionism by beginning to study carefully the "hidden history" wherein lies the true causes of events, in short, of the "shameful history". He devoted the last twenty years of his life to the debunking of the historical orthodoxy that surrounds World War II produced a shelf full of books which culminated in the remarkable work, insufficiently known, entitled Les Responsables de la seconde guerre mondiale (1) which was published shortly before his death in July 1967.
Paul Rassinier also could have made a name for himself in politics if, when he was a socialist representative in 1946, he had submitted to the oppressive climate of that period in France and had accepted open collaboration with the Communist Party. But, he refused such collaboration, and that party did all that it could to defeat him in his bid for re-election. As a matter of fact, the Communists always did want Paul Rassinier's "hide" in both the literal as well as the figurative sense. A confirmed, total pacifist, Rassinier, in 1922 at the age of 16, under the influence of the anarchist Victor Serge, had been drawn into the Communist Party from which, having later gone to the opposition, he was quickly excluded. He joined the Socialist party in 1936, where he made himself known particularly in the pacifist wing that was opposed to the French policies that led to the 1939 war. Then, after France was occupied by the German army, he was one of the earliest resistants to this occupation and helped to found the "Libre-Nord" movement, but, unlike the murderous guerrilla bands and the "shadow assassins," he tried to inculcate into these Resistance movements "the idea of nonviolence and the principles of total pacifism." Such an attitude succeeded in getting him "condemned to death" by the Communist resistance (which had arrived on the scene late following the German attack on the U.S.S.R. in June 1941) and in putting him on the receiving end of the ritual "little warning coffin" effigy. It is bitter irony that this man -- deported to Buchenwald and to Dora, where he endured frightful suffering for nearly two years -- should later concede that he only escaped from the rain of Communist machine gun fire thanks to his arrest by the Gestapo on October 30, 1943, and his subsequent deportation to Germany.
Liberated in 1945, returned to France on a stretcher, and declared to be a severe invalid, Paul Rassinier could have, once again, had a lucrative and successful career in what was called "resistantialisme," that is to say, the shameless, continuous and highly advantageous exploitation -- "make room for us!" -- of the events of the "resistance," real or imaginary. However in Belfort, his native city, he began with a nearly naive honesty to proclaim vociferously that he had never met in the Resistance most of the men who were speaking in its name, which was in itself, already a bold step But, he went even further and with the exceptional courage of an honest man who was sickened by the flood of lies that flowed before his eyes, he began to denounce exaggerations of every kind concerning German war crimes, while maintaining that there had been as many war crimes committed on the Allied side as on that of the Axis and that they were all of a similar horrible nature.
Indignant. Paul Rassinier was thoroughly indignant, this former deportee, about the whole avalanche of questionable and often fanciful literature about the German concentration camps that passed before him. In the preface of Rassinier's Le Parlement aux mains des banques (2), the dramatist and screenwriter Henri Jeanson described Paul Rassinier's indignation as follows:
I like Rassinier very much. I like him very much because, without losing his composure, without grandiloquence, quite simply Rassinier lived, in the word of Zola, "indignant." Indignant, but calm because he was sure of his facts. Indignant, but imperturbable. Indignant since the age of sixteen.
The indignation of Rassinier does not make itself known through spectacular temper tantrums. He does not at all become carried away and avoids all invective. >From these traits stem his strength and perfect aim. He does not belong to that race of congestive polemists who rid themselves in one article -- whew -- of their scrupulosity or their bad temper and who write like someone purging himself. Once the article has been published, he does not consider himself released from duty as concerns himself and does not move to another sort of exercise. No, he carries on with a good faith that no one dreams of reproaching him for, with the exception, of course, of these national organizations in which authentic resistance fighters and deportees innocently allow themselves to be duped by the profiteers of the crematoriums. And these profiteers do exist. They have always existed. No one is unaware that the ossuary of Verdun, for example. has become a circus attraction and an excellent business whose profits are all the greater since the merchandise is never replenished. It is always the same skeletons which are used. The remains are not a loss for everyone.
Indignant; Paul Rassinier began, then, almost immediately upon his return from Buchenwald, to do battle against the numerous concentration camp legends, as a free spirit and a scrupulous historian. There were then published in succession Le Passage de la ligne (3), an impartial and lucid account of his life as a deportee, Le Mensonge d'Ulysse (4), a critical look at the orthodox concentration camp "literature," and Ulysse trahi par les siens (5), a companion work to Le Mensonge d 'Ulysse. The bulk of these three works makes up the first eleven chapters of this present edition; some redundant material i.e., overlapping material which appears more than once in the original French editions -- has been removed from the present English language editions which combines the three books, in an effort to retain the readability of the original works and to reduce the production costs of this edition. Naturally, the scope and the meaning of the original editions have not been altered by this editing.
On the subject of atrocity propaganda, Paul Rassinier, as the reader will discover when he reads the chapters which follow minces no words:
The atrocities and those responsible for them are clearly inseparable. Moreover, I shall perhaps astonish you. I forego, as a matter of fact, either giving you a list of these atrocities or decrying them to you. You have already heard far too much on the subject. The atrocity proves nothing, moreover. in history, either against he who commits it or in favor of he who is subjected to it. We have all too many examples of a world where today's victim is tomorrow's executioner and vice versa. It will be enough then for me to tell you that the concentration camps were a world of horrors. And if anything ought to be added, it would be this: in spite of this, just about all those who have spoken of them have overdone it and particularly their explanations have little in common with the truth .... Concerning figures, the "witnesses" have said and written the most improbable things. Concerning the implementation of the means of' killing, also. Concentration camp literature on the whole has the appearance of a collection of contradictory pieces of illnatured gossip.
With such a view on the worth of concentration camp literature, it is no surprise that Paul Rassinier began to question the central tenet of the concentration camp orthodoxy, to wit: the claim of Jewish genocide. On this subject. the authoritative work of Paul Rassinier clearly remains his Le Drame des Juifs européens (6) in which he examined, with the care of the scrupulous historian that we know him to be, the documents. the statistics, and the census figures that are related to the alleged holocaust. The translation of this study is found in the final four chapters of this volume. Without question, it is an authoritative work in its genre. And, as such, it has been circulated widely through Europe during the past decade. Moreover, Le Drame -- as well as Rassinier's numerous other works -- has inspired an ever-growing library of other "revisionist" works on the subject, including the excellent study by Arthur R. Butz, The Hoax of the Twentieth Century. (7)
Paul Rassinier's contentions that there was no Nazi policy of Jewish genocide, that there were no officially sanctioned "exterminations by gas" and that there were no six million Jewish deaths at the hands of the Nazis have, naturally, bothered greatly the "court historians," caught with their hands in the cookie jar, so to speak, with their dishonest scholarship, as well as the entire Zionist establishment which has built the State of Israel on the "myth of the six million." In fact, the post-war politics of the Soviet Union, of the Bonn government in West Germany, and of the United States with regard to its "Cold War" policies have been justified, to a large extent, by the pointing to the alleged Nazi wartime atrocities, with the expressed hope that the given policy under consideration will prevent what the Nazis "did" from ever occurring again, et caetera, ad nauseam. Thus, it should be no secret why historical revisionism in this area of study has been greeted with such hostility from "official quarters" on both sides of the "Iron Curtain."
Notwithstanding his iconoclastic contentions, Paul Rassinier kept things in balance. In the chapter concerning the "Jewish question" in his Les Responsables de la seconde guerre mondiale, he argued that "... even stripped of all the exaggerations that have falsified its meaning" Hitler's policy against the Jews was an unquestionable attack on human rights and was, according to the sanctioned expression 'more than a crime, a transgression'". But, he hastens to add that to a certain extent the misfortunes of the Jews during that period were a consequence of their own doing:
Let us recognize that [the Jewish] claim to wanting to be in Germany -- as in every other country that they regard as a "land of welcome" -- a national minority was scarcely tenable either. It was up to themselves to admit that they were foreigners in Germany and to surrender any right to protest if, in his turn, Hitler treated them like foreigners. The other governments of the world were free to accept this claim of the Jews, it was a problem of domestic policy which was none of Hitler's affair. Let the Jews of Germany go settle elsewhere, he said. The Third Reich was a totalitarian state, and, in its bosom, there was no room for a national minority.
The only problem with Hitler's plan was that the other sovereign states wanted nothing to do with these Jews, at least in appreciable numbers. "Even had they wanted to deal with them, Hitler's policy would have remained, without any doubt a blow to human rights," Rassinier remarked further, "but it would have remained such only from the point of view of principles and, on the practical level, it would have not taken on [the subsequent] inhuman turn of events. The matter could have been resolved by the expedient of a transfer of the population accompanied by a transfer of personal property, the likes of which history offers us many an example. That is what Hitler was proposing."
In spite of the outbreak of hostilities in September 1939, this policy of population transfer remained the ultimate goal of the Hitler government, and, as the study that is printed in the final four chapters of this book demonstrates, such a population transfer actually did take place for the vast majority of European Jewry, although admittedly it occurred under inhumane and brutal conditions which caused numerous casualties. But, as the study also shows, such deaths were an unfortunate coincidence and were not the result of a deliberate policy of "genocide. "
As an important revisionist historian in the tradition of the late American historian Harry Elmer Barnes -- through whose efforts, incidentally, this translation was commissioned -- Paul Rassinier left an impressive body of work, without doubt indispensable to a complete understanding of the events of the Twentieth Century. Among his works which have not been mentioned previously, is a large volume, rich in documentary material of prime importance and analyzed with his customary lucidity, concerning that gross example of "kangaroo justice" known as the Jerusalem Tribunal which passed judgment on Adolf Eichmann; it is entitled Le véritable procés Eichmann ou Les Vainqueurs incorrigibles (8).
Other works that should be noted include his Candasse ou Le Huitième péché capital (9), a "story beyond time" that is told a bit in the manner of Anatole France, and, above all, his L'Opération Vicaire (10) in which he admirably exposes the political operation which consisted, in conjunction with the play "The Deputy," in charging Pope Pius Xll with the crime of "having favored Nazism," and, in doing so, having favored the anti-Jewish persecutions conducted by the Nazis, whereas, to the contrary, the Pope condemned those policies. Interestingly, as if by chance, there were found in rather great numbers in the gaggle of the Pope's accusers people who had helped Hitler to come to power.
To the everlasting credit of Paul Rassinier is the fact that with his L'opération "Vicaire" he undertook the defense of the "highest moral authority on earth" in spite of the fact that he was a professed atheist. It was likewise honorable for this former deportee, the poor victim of the hell of the concentration camps, to refrain from capitalizing on his experiences as a camp inmate and, instead, to put himself at the service of historical truth concerning the German camps and the "Jewish holocaust." Clearly, Paul Rassinier belonged, as his friends and admirers were always able to appreciate, to this elite of men whose sole ambition is never to repudiate themselves and to conserve an unswerving allegiance to the principles they have chosen to serve.