Robert Faurisson’s Unfair Rebuke

By Mark Weber
Director, Institute for Historical Review

April 21, 2009

Robert Faurisson, the French Holocaust revisionist, recently issued a public rebuke of me that calls for my resignation as director of the Institute for Historical Review. I was particularly disappointed to read his piece because few Americans have done more over the years than I to help Faurisson and promote his writings in this country.

Citing my January 7 article, “How Relevant is Holocaust Revisionism?”, he says that I should resign because, “in effect” I have “recently announced in a veiled way” my “abandonment, if not of revisionism, then at least of the revisionist fight.” Suggesting that this supposed retreat is based on cowardice or fear, he writes that I no longer want to run the “risk” of committing “the least transgression” against the “secular religion of the Holocaust.”

Faurisson’s assertions are groundless. My commitment to historical revisionism and to upholding the IHR’s long-standing mission is undiminished. More specifically, we continue, as ever, to counter Holocaust lies, distortion and propaganda.

Contrary to what Faurisson suggests, what I wrote in my January 7 piece is not at all new. I’ve been making the same points for years, both publicly and in private. To dispel any possible misunderstandings, I reaffirmed my continuing commitment to revisionism in a “Follow Up” piece of February 13.

I will pass over most of Faurisson’s many other false accusations and irrelevant personal slurs to respond to the charge that he considers his most substantive and damning. He takes special care, as he puts it, to “dwell on one point and one point alone where it seems to me I’ve caught Weber in the act, an act of dishonesty.”

He highlights the discrepancy between what I said in 1988 about the wartime diary of German propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels, and my portrayal of the diary in my January essay. In courtroom testimony at the Zundel trial in Toronto in March 1988, Faurisson notes, I expressed skepticism about the diary’s authenticity, and especially the entry of March 27, 1942, in which Goebbels mentions Jews being “liquidated.” In my essay of January 7, 2009, though, I quote that same entry, and others, as if I accept the diary as authentic. This “dishonest” discrepancy, Faurisson suggests, is due to expediency or cowardice.

In fact, I changed my view about the diary’s authenticity because I’ve taken into account archival evidence that has come to light since 1988 -- evidence that should also be familiar to Faurisson.

At the Twelfth IHR Conference in September 1994, British historian David Irving spoke at length about the Goebbels diary. He dealt with the question of its authenticity, and in particular the infamous “liquidation” entry. Irving said:

“When I visited the Hoover Institute library in Stanford, California, to see the portion of the original Goebbels diary that they have there, this [entry of March 27, 1942] was the first page I asked to see. And when I was in the Moscow archives to examine the glass plate copy of the diary, this was also the first page I searched for. I knew that if the diary had actually been copied by the Nazis in Berlin, and the glass plate version in Moscow matches the text in the Hoover library, there’s no way anyone could have faked it. And there it is on the glass plate in Moscow, identical. As a final clincher, this portion was also microfilmed in 1947 in New York from the text that is held by the Hoover library. So there are three different indications that this is a genuine quotation from a genuine document.”

(“Revelations From Goebbels' Diary,” The Journal of Historical Review, Jan.-Feb. 1995, p. 17.)

Irving’s conclusion is all the more credible because he cannot reasonably be accused of a bias to affirm that entry’s authenticity.

My 1988 courtroom testimony was truthful. It was my considered opinion at the time. In the years since, I have modified and refined my views on a range of historical points, taking into account new evidence, information and insights. That’s the essence of historical revisionism.