In the offing: a “Ministry of Defence against revisionism”

In view of the waning number of surviving war veterans, the relevant government agency (the Ministère des Anciens Combattants) could become a Ministry of Remembrance, i.e., to put it plainly, a ministry in charge of the defence of Jewish (and of Résistance) remembrance against historical revisionism.

One may be led to think as much by an article in Le Monde (July 18-19, 1999, p. 5) by Jean-Michel Aphatie and Pascale Robert-Diard entitled “Vers la création d’un ministère de la «mémoire» ?” (“Towards the creation of a Ministry of ‘Remembrance’?”).

In the late 1970s the springing up of the Faurisson affair and of historical revisionism (a school of thought founded in France, in 1950, by the late Paul Rassinier, a former deportee) had aroused disquiet amongst the upholders of an orthodox version of second world war history. In the early 1980s, numerous antirevisionist initiatives were launched in the political world, in the mainstream press, and in basic and higher education. In particular, an antirevisionist unit was formed within the Ministère des Anciens Combattants. This bureau’s activities have expanded steadily ever since, as it has been turning into a ministerial directorship. Today no-one can doubt that it constitutes the seed from which a future Ministry of Remembrance will eventually sprout. President Jacques Chirac (on a visit to Oradour-sur-Glane) and Prime Minister Lionel Jospin (on a visit to Auschwitz), although of opposing political parties have, along with Minister of Justice Elisabeth Guigou (on a visit to the site of the wartime detention camp at Drancy, to the north of Paris), once again sworn in unison by this one-sided and well policed remembrance.

July 19, 1999