7 July 1997
Dear Mr Shermer,
You recently wrote, in your book Why People Believe Weird Things (p. 198-199), few things about "Robert Faurisson", which deserve rectification. I'll take only two examples.
1) You write : "Faurisson [in August 1994] visited the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., and managed to arrange a meeting with one of its directors [Michael Berenbaum]. By badgering him about the "lack of proof" that Nazi gas chambers were used for mass murder, Faurisson managed to trigger an emotional outburst from his host."
In fact, I said to Mr Berenbaum, in the presence of two other directors of the Museum and of two witnesses of mine, that I had not found in my visit an answer to my challenge : "Show me or draw me a Nazi gas chamber" ("Show me" being for those who would say that such a gas chamber may be visited in Auschwitz, Majdanek, Mauthausen, Struthof-Natzweiler or elsewhere, and "draw me" being for those who assert that all the "gas chambers" have been destroyed by the Germans). I said to Berenbaum that, in his own guide-book of the Museum (The World Must Know), he had shown, partly, what was in fact, even for Jean-Claude Pressac, a disinfestation gas chamber in Majdanek ; I also said that, in the same guide-book, he had been cautious enough not to reproduce the silly model of the Crematorium II with a SS pouring Zyklon B pellets in "special holes" which had never existed as one can state even today in visiting Auschwitz-Birkenau ; therefore I was still expecting from him an answer to my challenge ; he went ballistic.
2) You also write : "Faurisson invited me [in September 1994] to his hotel room to discuss in private the gas chamber story. Faurisson harassed me incessantly for half an hour, getting in my face and wagging his finger, demanding 'one proof, just one proof' that a Nazi gas chamber was used for mass murder. I simply asked over and over, "What would you consider 'proof' ?" Faurisson was unwilling (or unable) to answer."
No, Mr Shermer, you know perfectly well that I immediately answered your question by saying that the proof would be whatever you decided to call a proof. And it is precisely because you were, at that time as well as today, trying to escape my answer that I had to keep "wagging [my] finger". Repeatedly I answered : You have the onus of the proof since you are accusing Germany of having invented and operated that extraordinary weapon, and you have to bring whatever you will decide to call a proof.
I said so in September 1994 in that hotel. I repeated it in "My comment on an open letter from Michael Shermer", dated March 31, 1995 (in German : "Professor Faurisson antwortet dem Amerikaner Michael Shermer"). I repeated it in my fax to you, dated April 12, 1995, fax that I sent once more on August 26, 1995. "My comment" was published by Dr Töben in Adelaide Institute's newsletter of October 1995. I repeated it in another newsletter, of November 1995. I asked once more for an answer in The Journal of Historical Review of January/February 1996, p. 24.
But you never brought any proof.
When you asked me : "What would you consider 'proof' ?", I gave you my answer. Why do you hide the fact that I gave you an answer ? Why do you say that "Faurisson was unwilling (or unable) to answer" ? Do you think that people will believe that I remained silent or that I shied away from your question ? How many people, in your opinion, will think that, for the first time in his life, Faurisson tried to avoid a difficulty and side-stepped ? Perhaps my answer was not a good one. In that case, you should have said : "Faurisson gave me a wrong answer". You had no right to say that I was unwilling or unable to answer, because, in fact, I did answer.
Now remember my quips for Crematorium I and Crematorium II in Auschwitz. For the first, it is : "No door, no « Destruction »" (which is an allusion to Raul Hilberg's book) ; the victims could not even enter the place since the famous entrance door, the South-East door, did not yet exist in 1941-1942 when the gassings supposedly took place. The second quip is : "No holes, no « Holocaust »" ; the poison could not even enter the place since the famous four "special openings" in the roof never existed, as can be stated simply by looking at that roof as it is, crumbled but not destroyed.
In 1995, antirevisionist Eric Conan had to admit about Crematorium I : "Everything in it is false. At the end of the 70s, Robert Faurisson exploited those falsifications all the better since at that time the Museum officials balked at admitting them" (L'Express, 19 January 1995, p. 68).
In 1996, antirevisionist historian Jacques Baynac, who had been so vocal against me in the past (see Le Monde, 18 June 1987, p. 2), painfully admitted that, finally, there are no proofs that the Nazi gas chambers existed (Le Nouveau Quotidien (de Lausanne), 2 September 1996, p. 16 and 3 September 1996, p. 14.)
Explain me why historians like E. Conan and J. Baynac, in spite of their antirevisionism, made such admissions.
Tell me why, already in 1989, Jean-Claude Pressac, willing to answer my challenge for "one proof, one single proof", naively entitled the most important chapter of his big fat book (Auschwitz : Technique and Operation of the Gas Chambers) : "One proof... one single proof : thirty-nine criminal traces" (p. 429).
You are interested in why people believe weird things. Don't you find weird that, for more than fifty years, billions of people have believed in a fantastic weapon that, in fact, they had never seen but that they thought they had seen either in visiting some camps or in reading books or in watching TV ? They had been shown either a building, or a wall, or a door, or a roof, or shoes, or hair, or glasses and, since the accompanying blabla was on the "gas chambers", they were made to believe that they had seen "gas chambers".
Read or reread Animal Farm, read or reread the story of the Emperor who had no clothes, and perhaps will you understand how easy it is to make crowds of people to believe whatever you wish, just till the day when someone comes and makes a simple, stupid remark or asks a simple, stupid question.
Please, answer my simple, stupid question about your "proofs". This is the tenth time I am asking you that question and, for the tenth time, I say : "A proof will be whatever you decide to call a proof".