French anti-Semitism is a recurrent struggle, most recently shown by the Cannes Film Festival’s abrupt cancellation of “The Anti-Semite” — a film starring Dieudonné M’Bala M’Bala, a French comic with a history of anti-Semitism.
Dealing with another strand of the trait, French historian Valérie Igounet’s useful “The Story of Holocaust Denial in France,” from Les éditions du Seuil in 2000, is now followed by “Robert Faurisson: Portrait of a Holocaust Denier,” out from Les éditions Denoël in March. In it, Igounet meticulously analyzes the French literature professor who notoriously denied that Nazis used gas chambers to kill Jews during World War II.
As reasoning, Faurisson complained that he found few war-era photographs of gas chambers in archives. In 1974, one Frenchwoman who survived Auschwitz wrote a trenchant public letter, ironically apologizing to Faurisson for not bringing her camera along when she was deported. In 1978, after Faurisson sent a letter to historians asking if they believed that Hitler’s gas chambers were a “myth,” the Jewish monthly “Tribune Juive” published an open letter to Faurisson, asking whether he himself was mythical.