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French Jews Strike a Blow Against Denying the Holocaust

December 27, 2001
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French Jews have won an important victory in their struggle against Holocaust deniers.

On Dec. 20, a coalition of five Jewish organizations — including the Union of French Jewish Students, or UEJF; the League Against Racism and Anti-Semitism, known as LICRA; and Memory 2000 — reached an agreement with France’s most popular encyclopedia about its use of the work of Robert Faurisson, the father of French Holocaust denial.

The Jewish groups had filed a motion in a Paris court to force the editors of Quid to remove its reference to Faurisson from future editions. The two parties managed to arrive at a settlement before the court could decide the issue.

According to the arrangement, Quid will remove Faurisson’s account of the number of Jewish deaths at Auschwitz from all future print editions and from its Internet site.

A former professor at the University of Lyon 2, Faurisson was condemned in a French court and removed from his post for disseminating scholarship radically minimizing the death count at Auschwitz and arguing that Jews there died of typhus and malnutrition, not at the hands of the Nazis.

According to the arrangement, Quid will drop its mention of these ideas in its historical section on the Holocaust, but will continue to present Faurisson’s work in a more general description of Holocaust revisionism. However, the encyclopedia will include a reminder of Faurisson’s condemnation as an addendum.

In addition to these revisions, Quid also must publicize the agreement by posting announcements in its 100 most important points of sale and in advertisements in the daily Le Figaro and in Le Monde de l’Education, a publication aimed at teachers and educational administrators.

The campaign against Quid is part of an ongoing battle waged by UEJF, LICRA, the anti-racist group I Accuse and a host of other organizations against Holocaust revisionism and neo-Nazism on the Internet and in French schools.

Last year, a number of these groups pressured Yahoo France to bar the sale of Nazi memorabilia from its auction site.

More recently, an alliance of seven Jewish organizations sought to legally force French Internet providers to prevent users from accessing the American neo-Nazi Web portal, which supplies links to over three hundred neo-Nazi and xenophobic Web sites.

Following proceedings involving technicians, legal scholars and philosophers, the court decided that blocking the site would violate the Internet providers’ “obligation of neutrality.”

Quid represented a particularly important target of the groups’ efforts, because the single volume encyclopedia is a fixture of French households.

“It’s where French students go to find answers,” commented Philip Aim, president of the Lyon section of the UEJF.

Aim and the rest of his group were especially pleased about removing Faurisson’s theories. The Lyon chapter of the organization has led the charge over the last year to investigate the influence of extremist scholars at the University of Lyon, where Faurisson served as professor.

Several weeks ago, the Ministry of Education yielded to their pressure by assigning an outside scholar to render a judgment on the situation.

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