French Court Orders Heavy Penalties
Against Faurisson for Holocaust Views

New French Legal Assault Against Revisionists and Freedom of Speech

By Mark Weber


On December 9, 1992, the Paris Court of Appeal (Eleventh Department) rejected Professor Robert Faurisson’s appeal of an April 1991 conviction on a charge of “contesting the crimes against humanity” because of remarks about the Holocaust story he made in a magazine interview.

The appeal court imposed penalties of 187,000 francs (nearly $40,000 at current exchange rates) on each of the two defendants in the case: Dr. Faurisson and magazine publisher Patrice Boizeau. Each was ordered to pay 30,000 francs in fines, and 157,000 francs in "damages" to eleven Jewish-Zionist and other organizations. In addition, each must, of course, bear the legal costs of his defense.

In the interview, published in the September 1990 issue of Le Choc du Mois ("The Shock of the Month"), the French professor commented on the extraordinary Fabius-Gayssot law of July 1990 that expressly forbids "contesting the crimes against humanity" as defined by the victors of the Second World War and punished by the International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg. In practice, this law applies only to those who call into question alleged crimes against Jews, and particularly persons who contest the orthodox Holocaust extermination story.

Sometimes referred to as the "Lex Faurissonia," this law was enacted to criminalize, above all, the work of Dr. Faurisson — Europe's leading revisionist scholar and a good friend of the IHR.

In his 1990 Le Choc du Mois interview, Faurisson had stated that he would continue, regardless of the recently-promulgated law, to proclaim the results of his research:

• There was no German order or plan to exterminate the Jews of Europe.

• No homicidal gas chambers ever existed in the concentration camps of the Third Reich. The supposed extermination gas chambers, as described by alleged eyewitnesses and perpetrators, could not have existed for physical, chemical, topographical, and architectural reasons.

• The familiar figure of six million Jewish victims is absurd.

In April 1991, a Paris criminal court ordered Faurisson to pay a penalty of 250,000 francs (of which 100,000 was suspended), and the publisher of Le Choc du Mois to pay a penalty of 180,000 francs. (See the IHR Newsletter, May 1991, pp. 1-2, and May 1992, pp. 2-3.)

In the December 1992 decision, the three-judge appeal court (Frangoise Simon presiding) imposed a total penalty of 374,000 francs on the two defendants, none of which was suspended. Throughout Faurisson's entire testimony, which lasted nearly two hours, Judge Simon ostentatiously averted her gaze from him. She also forbade Faurisson from reading documents, including a portion of the verdict of the Nuremberg Tribunal (the ostensible basis for the law in question).

But that's not the worst of it. In addition to the fines totaling nearly $80,000 in this single case (not to mention their considerable legal expenses), Faurisson and the magazine face two new cases based on the same 1990 interview. As Faurisson has ruefully explained, it's as if someone accused of having stolen a bicycle were to stand trial three times: first for the theft of the bike, then for stealing the wheels, and finally for taking the handlebars. This sort of double and even triple jeopardy is normally rejected by French jurisprudence no less than it is in America: but because it involves the most sacred icon of our age, the legal situation is anything but normal.

Finally, on January 12, Faurisson received a summons for yet another trial. He is being sued because of a fragment of a sentence in a review by him published in the weekly Rivarol, April 10, 1992.

Not surprisingly, French newspapers and television have generally ignored or minimized the appeal court's December decision against Faurisson and the magazine.

Faurisson has decided not to appeal the December decision to a higher tribunal, citing the cost of such an appeal and because he believes that even should his conviction be overturned he would likely be re-tried on the same charges (and incur further legal expenses), to obtain a verdict that would probably be no different from the first.

At the same time, though, Faurisson remains steadfast in his determination to carry on the fight for the historical truth about the alleged gas chambers, and for the freedom to write and speak that truth in France.

An expression of this continued dedication — and of the growth of Holocaust Revisionism — is a rather lengthy and remarkably fair interview with Faurisson published November 11 in the Italian daily Corriere della Sera. In his replies to the paper's respectful questions, the French scholar provided a clear and concise summary of the revisionist view.

'Worse Than Stalinist Law'

The Paris court's December ruling is of historic significance. For the first time a university professor has been expressly punished by a judicial body for having made public his research on a subject on which it is expressly forbidden by law to contest the official version.

Over the centuries thousands of professors and other scholars have suffered terribly for having affronted the ruling orthodoxy with their findings. It is to be noted, however, that until now such men and women have been punished on indirect and hypocritical legal grounds. They have been accused, for instance, of attacking religious faith, of endangering the national interest or of undermining a political ideology. Sometimes — as has also been the case with Faurisson — they have been condemned for "defaming" this or that person or group, for "inciting to racial hatred," or for causing "personal damage." In the late 1940s, for example, French professor Maurice Bardeche was thrown into prison on the pretext that he "apologized for [Nazi] crimes."

In Germany, which does not have a specific law against revisionism, courts have punished revisionists on the basis of a law that makes it a crime to "defame the memory of the dead."

France's Fabius-Gayssot law is free of any such hypocrisy. With perfect cynicism, the "Lex Faurissonia" establishes historiographical dogma. Not even Stalin ever proclaimed a comparable law. When, for instance, the Soviet dictator persecuted the opponents of the quack biologist Lysenko (who was also a member of the Soviet commission that "established" that the Germans killed four million people at Auschwitz), it was not in the name of a specific Soviet law declaring Lysenko's theories to be correct, nor was there ever such a Soviet law. The Fabius-Gayssot law is not Stalinist: it is worse.

Other Victims

Professor Faurisson is not the only victim of the legal campaign in France against Holocaust revisionists. (See also the IHR Newsletter, July-August 1992, pp. 5-6.) Among other recent cases involving such dangerous "thought criminals" have been:

— In February 1992, a Paris court of appeal ordered Francois Brigneau and Roland Gaucher to pay a fine of 76,000 francs ($15,200) for having published in a weekly periodical a 60-word statement by Faurisson in 1980 refuting the Holocaust gas chamber and extermination story.

— In April 1992, the appeals court in Caen (Normandy) upheld convictions against Vincent Reynouard, a 23-year-old chemical engineer, and Remi Pontier, a computer science engineer, for distributing leaflets and stickers that question the existence of extermination gas chambers in Third Reich concentration camps. Reynouard and Pontier thus became the first persons to be convicted under the Fabius-Gayssot law.

— In June 1992, a court in Nice convicted two young men for having put stickers on a secondary school building that read "Faurisson is right: Gas chambers = rubbish." Fabrice Robert, a 20-year-old university history student, was ordered to pay a fine of 10,000 francs ($2,000), and Pierre Gaüzère, a 26-year-old automobile worker, was fined 20,000 francs ($4,000). Each defendant was also ordered to pay a total of 10,000 francs to four organizations. Finally, the "civic rights" of the two young men were suspended for five years, years. (Among other things, this means that neither can hold any government job, including teacher or post office employee, or work in any government-affiliated agency or business.) This case is being appealed.

— In April 1992, Philippe Costa, a 31-year-old engineer, and Laurent Gentel, a 24-year-old law student, appeared in a court in Fontainebleau (near Paris) for having distributed a leaflet advertising audio cassettes of a presentation by Faurisson on the gas chamber issue. The judge in the case declared that no one would be permitted even to mention the words "gas chamber" during the trial, which meant that the defendants could not explain their reasons for distributing the leaflet. They have been ordered to pay penalties of 29,000 francs. The verdict is being appealed.

— In mid-December, a court in Amiens ordered Revisionist publisher and writer Pierre Guillaume, and the periodical Nationalisme et Republique, to pay 103,000 francs for publishing a very cautiously worded article about the Holocaust issue. In addition, Guillaume has been ordered to pay 58,000 francs for having published a translation of an "open letter" by IHR editor Mark Weber (reprinted from the Summer 1988 Journal). Guillaume faces a third trial for having published copies of an article by Pierre Marais, a retired auto technician. Marais himself faces two trials: one for this article and another for a technical study he wrote.

— Bernard Notin, a professor of economics at a university in Lyon, has faced numerous difficulties in recent years for mentioning, in passing, in an article that the gas chamber story is not clear. As a result of pressure from Jewish Zionist organizations, and in particular the group headed by Serge Klarsfeld, he was relieved of his teaching duties. Although it was recently decided to permit him to resume teaching, it is not clear if this will actually happen. When he was asked during a television interview if he is a Revisionist, he replied: "I will not answer because I do not want to give vile little magistrates the opportunity to assassinate me."

Jewish-Zionist groups are upset that persons charged under the Fabius-Gayssot law have been able to articulately explain in court precisely why they reject the Holocaust extermination story.

Accordingly, an attorney and spokesman for the virulently anti-Revisionist “International League Against Racism and Anti-Semitism" (LICRA) recently proposed a revision of the law that would forbid a defendant in a Fabius-Gayssot case from explaining his Revisionist views in court, or even from repeating in court the "offending" statement.

So goes it for Revisionists in "douce France" ("sweet, gentle France").

In Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Italy and Sweden laws similar to the Fabius-Gayssot law are in effect: a troubling portent of the "new Europe."

Media Hypocrisy

France's Fabius-Gayssot law, and similar legal measures in other countries, would be universally condemned as intolerable restrictions of free speech and academic expression if they involved any issue other than the Holocaust.

Hardly a word about any of these latest French blows against civil rights and free speech has appeared in the American media, which is normally so quick to sniff out every real or imagined violation of civil rights in China, Burma or South Africa.

Such laws and measures are not only chilling manifestations of the power and bigotry of the international Holocaust lobby, they also strikingly point up the bad faith and desperate fear of the lobby in the face of steady Revisionist advances. Historical truth does not need laws to defend itself.


From The Journal of Historical Review, March-April 1993 (Vol. 13 , No. 2), pages 26 -28.