Faurisson (born January 25, 1929) is a French holocaust-denier who generated controversy over various articles he published in the Journal of Historical Review and elsewhere, as well as various letters he has sent in to French newspapers (especially Le Monde) over the years which denied the existence of homicidal gas chambers in Nazi concentration camps and questioned whether there was actually a systematic killing of European Jews using gas during World War II.
Views, work and criticism
He was born in Shepperton, Surrey, England to a French father and Scottish mother.
Faurisson, like most Frenchmen of that era, has said that he had anti-German sentiments during and immediately following World War II, but after reading the works of fellow Frenchmen Paul Rassinier and Maurice Bardèche, he began to question the Holocaust. Over the years Faurisson claims to have studied the Holocaust extensively, and in the late 1970s he says that he came to the conclusion that it was a hoax. Since then he has written numerous letters to newspapers, published many books, and written many articles for revisionist journals questioning the occurrence of the Holocaust.
Faurisson counts among his acquaintances and friends the German-Canadian revisionist Ernst Zündel, Swedish revisionist Ditlieb Felderer and Moroccan expatriate revisionist Ahmed Rami. Many have described Faurisson as antisemitic, but he repudiates this description.
As core arguments Faurisson claims that the Nazi gas chambers would have needed a perfect hermetic sealing; a special introduction and distribution system for the gas; a fantastic ventilation system to eliminate the gas from the chambers after the mass murders; a system to neutralize the exhausted gases; and, quite separately, a device, incredibly clever in design and construction, to eliminate the gas which would adhere stubbornly to the bodies, making further handling lethal.
Christopher Hitchens has described Faurisson's goal as "the rehabilitation, in pseudo scholarly form, of the Third Reich" Faurisson claims to be apolitical and an atheist.
In the early to mid 1980s, the American intellectual Noam Chomsky drew a lot of criticism for defending Faurisson's right to publish his claims on the grounds of freedom of speech. See Faurisson Affair.
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 Human Rights Committee. The Human Rights Committee upheld the Gayssot Act as necessary to counter possible antisemitism.