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Revisionist Historian Suspended for One Year from Lyon University

Bernard Notin, a senior lecturer at Lyon University, was suspended Wednesday from all his academic activities for one year for anti-Semitic slurs and casting doubt on the existence of the Holocaust and gas chambers.

The university’s disciplinary commission had been called to rule on Notin’s continued academic work after he had denied the existence of the Holocaust. In an article published in January, he claimed the gas chambers had never existed and were merely “a figment of popular imagination without any historic basis.”

In April, Lyon Mayor Michel Noir called on the commission to take disciplinary action against Notin, warning that unless he was dismissed, the city would end its financial support of the university. The sum involved was believed to run into several million dollars per year.

Noir, a member of Jacques Chirac’s center-right Rally for the Republic, also warned that if “Notin and other forgers were permitted to go on teaching,” the city would not hand over, as previously agreed, new buildings for the university campus.

On July 11, a Paris court found Notin guilty of slander and ordered him to pay a $4,000 fine to an anti-racist organization, the Movement Against Racism and Anti-Semitism, that had brought the charges against him on the basis of the January article, which was published in a sociological journal edited by the university.

The court, in its ruling, said the historian had caused “serious and needless pain to former deportees and their families and especially to the Jewish community.”

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