“Right of Reply” letter of February 26, 1979, refused publication by
Le Monde, regarding pieces appearing in its editions
of February 21, 1979 (p. 23) and February 23, 1979 (p. 40)
In a long declaration, thirty-four French historians have recently let us know that it is of course “natural” to ask oneself all sorts of questions about the Second World War, but that, nonetheless, “there is not, there cannot be, any debate on the existence of the gas chambers”.
For my part, I remark that there is a debate on the existence or the non-existence of the “gas chambers”, and believe that this debate is a legitimate one. It has for a long time pitted a few specialists of the school of revisionist historians against a few specialists of the official history. This debate opened, in a way, in 1960 when Dr Martin Broszat, representing the very official Institut für Zeitgeschichte (Institute for Contemporary History) in Munich, had to make a huge concession to the revisionist Paul Rassinier: he was obliged to acknowledge that in spite of an alleged over-abundance of evidence, documents, testimonies and confessions (all of them reliable), there had never existed a single “gas chamber” in any of the concentration camps in the former Reich. In 1968, the discussion was revived, on the official side, by Olga Wormser-Migot who, in the face of a veritable storm of protest, dared to speak, in her thesis, of what she then termed “the problem of the gas chambers”. Since 1974, this debate has little by little become a public one in Western Europe, and also in the English-speaking world at large (including, just recently, Australia!). The French press can no longer ignore this, lest it practise a form of censorship.
This debate is already richly instructive. An attentive reader of Le Monde will have learned much just from a perusal of the February 21, 1979 issue, where a whole page was exclusively devoted to a rendering of the official history’s arguments. To begin, the reader will have learned that, in certain camps, fake “gas chambers” are presented to “pilgrims and tourists” (the only pity being that the reader is not told the names of those camps). Then, he will have learned that the figure for Auschwitz of three million dead is “surely an exaggeration”, news that will have come as a surprise if he recalls that the official figure is four million. He will have noted that, in places where the German archives are declared to be “silent”, there is a tendency to interpret them. He will have seen that, in places where Third Reich documents are “apparently innocuous”, they are interpreted to the point, for example, of appearing to say that “to treat accordingly” signifies… “to gas”. He will have noted that the orders of Himmler either to build or to destroy the “gas chambers” are not in the least precise, the fact being that such orders apparently never existed. He will have learned that the “document” of the SS engineer Gerstein is deemed “unquestionable”, not in its entirety but “for the most part”. With still a bit of attention, he will have noted that, according to the passages of the document that those in charge care to quote, there were from 700 to 800 persons in a “gas chamber” whose area was about 25 square metres, with a ceiling of 1.8 metres, which gives us from 28 to 32 persons standing in the space of each square metre! In the list of the thirty-four historians, he will perhaps have noticed that there is but a single specialist of the history of the camps. In the bibliography list, he will have twice come across the name of Olga Wormser-Migot for secondary works but not for her thesis, doubtless considered dangerous; and he will not have found any book or article devoted to the “gas chambers”, for the good reason that, on the official side, there are none, either in French or in any foreign language (in this regard, beware of certain deceptive titles!).
The Le Monde reader is told of an account of the “final solution to the Jewish problem” dated January 20, 1942. One may well wonder why the text of this account is not called by its name, as is normally the case: “Wannsee Protocol”. I observe that, for some time, it has been realised that these strange minutes (for the word “Protocol” is a misnomer) are full of oddities and that they lack any guarantee of genuineness. They were typed on ordinary paper, with no indication of place or date of issue, no indication of point of origin, no official letterhead, no reference, no signature. That said, I think that the meeting of January 20, 1942 did take place and that it dealt with “the solution, at last, of the Jewish problem”, which is to say that, as their emigration to Madagascar had been made impossible by the war, it was decided to expel the Jewish populations to the East of Europe.
Whoever bases any accusation at all on the Gerstein “document” (PS-1553) shows, by so doing, proof of an inability to find a solid argument in favour of the “gas chambers'” existence. Not even the Nuremberg International Military Tribunal cared to exploit this text that had emerged from its archives. Other tribunals, it is true, have been content to use it. The confession by R. Höss is worth no more. I shall not go back over the matter of this “admission” drafted under the surveillance of his Polish and Soviet jailers. The least effort of analysis shows its fabricated nature; on this point I refer the reader to the works of Paul Rassinier and, in particular, to his study of the Eichmann trial (Le Véritable Procès Eichmann). As for Kremer’s diary, written during the war, it is genuine, but certain meanings are abusively coaxed out of some passages, or indeed the text is twisted in order to have us think that Kremer is speaking of the horrors of the “gas chambers” where, in reality, he describes the horrors of a typhus epidemic. After the war Kremer, indeed, did confess what he was led to confess, in accordance with all the stereotypes of the confession specialists. I am rebuked for having hidden this confession. I have not hidden it. I have expressly mentioned the existence of these “admissions”. I have not analysed the text because, quite simply, my opponents have felicitously refrained from presenting it to me as evidence of the existence of “gas chambers” at Auschwitz! When Kremer speaks of three women being shot, I am willing to believe him. It could happen, I think, that a convoy of 1,710 persons contain three who were to be shot on arrival, at Auschwitz. But when Kremer, after the war, tells us that the incident involved women who had refused to enter the “gas chamber”, I believe none of it. I need only go back to what he claimed to have seen of an alleged gassing operation, observed from his car. Kremer is among those people according to whom the reopening of the “gas chamber” was carried out “a moment” after the victims’ death. I have already shown that this is a material impossibility. And then, I note that, in an attempt to explain a confession, Kremer’s, another confession is relied upon, that (as chance would have it) of Höss. The disturbing point is that these two confessions, both obtained by Polish military justice, contradict one another much more than they uphold one another. One should take a close look at their respective descriptions both of the victims and the surroundings, and of the executioners and the mode of execution.
I do not understand the reply made in regard to Zyklon B. Used in a “gas chamber”, it would have stuck to the ceiling, to the floor, to the four walls and would have perfused the victims’ bodies and their mucous for at least twenty hours. The members of the Sonderkommando (in fact, the crematorium team) charged with the task, it is said, of taking the bodies out of the “gas chamber” half an hour after the pouring in (?) of the Zyklon B, would have been instantly asphyxiated. And the Germans could hardly have scoffed at that, for the job would thus not have been done and no new batch of victims could have been brought to the spot.
One must not confuse a suicidal or accidental asphyxiation with an execution by gassing. In the latter case, those carrying out the job must avoid the least risk. Thus, the Americans, in order to gas a single prisoner at a time, use a complicated procedure in a small and hermetically sealed space. All movements are begun on the outside. The condemned man has his wrists and ankles bound and his head immobilised. After his death, the gas is extracted from the chamber and neutralised, and the guards must wait more than an hour before entering. A “gas chamber” is not a bedroom.
For four years I have expressed the wish to debate publicly, with anyone whom the other side may care to name, “the problem of the gas chambers”. I am answered with court writs. But the witchcraft trials, like the witch-hunts, never proved anything. I know of a way to move the debate forward. Instead of repeating ad nauseam that there exists an overabundance of evidence to prove the existence of the “gas chambers” (let us be reminded of what this supposed overabundance was worth for the former Reich’s – mythical – “gas chambers”), I suggest, in order to begin at the beginning, that my adversaries provide me with a proof, one single clear-cut proof of the actual existence of a “gas chamber”, of a single “gas chamber”. Then we shall examine that “proof” together, in public.
R. Faurisson, February 26, 1979
 The fact that some deportees arriving at Auschwitz were not registered there, as could well be expected, does not signify that those deportees disappeared or that they were “gassed”. For more details on this point see S. Klarsfeld, Le Mémorial de la déportation des Juifs de France, Paris 1978, p. 10 and 12.
 Justiz und NS-Verbrechen, University Press Amsterdam, tome XVII (1977), p. 20.