On February 7, 1996, Elie Wiesel, Nobel Peace Prize laureate and professor at Boston University, was awarded an honorary doctorate by Jules Verne University of Picardy, France. Reporting on the speech delivered by Wiesel on that occasion, the local newspaper (Le Courrier Picard, February 9, 1996) informed readers:
One question the public was anxious should be answered: “And what do you make of the emergence of revisionist and Holocaust denying tendencies?” Wiesel responded: “Those are [the work of] virulent and vicious anti-Semites, organised and well-financed. On the day I received the Nobel Prize there were hundreds in the street demonstrating against me. Never will I accord them the dignity of a debate. These are morally sick individuals. While I am able to fight against injustice, I have no idea how to go about fighting against ugliness.”
Here one can see Elie Wiesel’s typical phraseology, but his statement that “on the day I received the Nobel Prize there were hundreds in the street demonstrating against me” is something new, and constitutes yet one more lie by this “prominent false witness,” as I have called him, or “Shoah merchant” as Pierre Vidal-Naquet (in an interview with Michel Folco – Zéro, April 1987, p. 57) has called him.
As someone who was present in Oslo at the site of the award ceremony in December 1986, I am able to report that the number of protesters there was precisely zero. Three persons did show up to distribute a leaflet, printed in both Swedish and English, entitled “A Prominent false witness: Elie Wiesel” [also available as an IHR leaflet]. All three of these persons were Frenchmen: Pierre Guillaume, Serge Thion and myself.
February 9, 1996