The Holocaust Historiography Project
Auschwitz, by J.-C. Pressac
” … they still have the effrontery to show us the photograph [Photo 17] of one of these autoclaves at Dachau, with before it an American soldier in uniform deciphering … the gassing timetable!”
It is quite obvious that, in 1945, American war correspondents could easily be misled because of their lack of information. But Faurisson, who does not lack information (200 kg), he who was so quick to denounce the errors of others, was also led astray. What he took to be autoclaves, were in fact simple disinfestation gas chambers — they had neither temperature nor pressure gauges, essential instruments for the proper operation of an autoclave, And when he did come across real autoclaves, he though they were disinfestation gas chambers (for example, the three autoclaves in the Birkenau Zentral Sauna). Faurisson is a literary man, not a scientist. What is so sad about this story is the correspondence exchanged between him and the authorities of the Dachau Museum and the Dachau International Committee in Bruxelles, in which he forces them to admit that they have failed in their historical duty by not being able to counter his arguments. Without a true technical analysis, going as far as partial demolition of the walls, no version is acceptable at present.

Faurisson's method of working is based on textual analysts and involves the detailed criticism of documents concerned with the question studied. He is the proponent of a rather special approach. In his view, it is necessary to intervene rapidly and hit hard. A kind of “commando” technique. As regards Auschwitz, where he had made only one or two brief visits, he “understood” everything very rapidly. To support this “new understanding” he had brought back from Poland an abundant documentation to support his thesis, and in the eyes of the uninitiated this appears true and convincing. My own method of working is different. I worm my way into the subject tenaciously, so my results to terms of “picking up” documents were slow and not very fruitful in the short term. In the medium term my tenacity began to pay off. And in the long term it has led to unhoped for results. Taking photographs alone, Faurisson probably has about 200, most of which I am acquainted with. As regards Auschwitz, 7 photographs and 3 drawings. (from the PMO) were published in Vérité Historique... by Serge Thion. Of the 16 published in Le mythe d'Auschwitzby Wilhelm Staglich (La Vieille Taupe 1986) under the title : Illustrations [comments by Faurisson]. Le mythe d'Auschwitz en images. Une extermination... improbable... invrasiemblable... impossible...fictive, FIVE had already appeared in “Thion”. For my part, considering only the contemporary photographs concerning the camp and the life of the prisoners and SS, Serge Klarsfeld [and the PMO] provided me with 189 for the publication of L'Album d'Auschwitz (Seuil 1983), and this does not include 63 unpublished photographs from the original Album that did not concern the extermination of the Hungarian Jews. The PMO gave me copies of the 52 photographs taken clandestinely and buried by the former prisoner Lawin Ludwik and found after the Liberation. Then the Museum sent me the 397 photographs of the Bauleitung Album(unpublished: the original is held by the Yad Vashem) some of which are identical with those “organized” by Ludwik, Then there are the 4 Polish resistance photographs, only 3 of which are usable, 3 from the SS garrison and 30 concerning Himmler's visit to Buna Monowitz on 17th July 1942. Regarding the state of the camp at the Liberation, several hundred stills have been taken from the Soviet film Chronicles … 1945. Of Polish source in the period 1945-46, an unknown number (several dozen?) were takes by Stanislaw Lucwko. The Warsaw Central Commission for the investigation of Hitlerite crimes in Poland sent me 5 of the Lucwko series and 5 others from about thirty of unknown origin. On these last there appears a Polish military cameraman filming the ruins of Krematorium V in the process of being cleared, which implies that a film (newsreel?) other than the 1945 Soviet film was shot at Birkenau just after the Liberation. And there is no need to mention the innumerable “modern” photographs of Auschwitz.

The difference between the results of Faurisson's commando raids and my own slow and patient research in Poland speak for themselves. Let there be no misunderstanding about one of us wanting to possess more than the other — this is no schoolboy game of marbles. These photographs are important historical material and some of them are vital for our understanding. Sometimes a testimony can be confirmed or rejected thanks to one or more photographs [the War Refugee Board report of November 1944 was authenticated in this way, despite some bizarre features in it]. It may be thought that there must be many other photographs taken at Auschwitz between 1940 and 1946. This is no doubt true, but those listed are the only ones we know about. I know ALL of them [about 700 contemporary pictures, or a thousand or more including the Liberation] and I am able to situate most of them on the ground and date many of them more or less accurately, One day at the PMO in the service responsible for the “reserve stocks” [various objects found in the camp], I came upon a photograph of an SS man, in regulation uniform and wearing a gas mask, pouring a can of Zyklon-B into a kind of chimney about 40 cm high. He appeared to be on the roof of a Krematorium II or III gas chamber, but the arrangement of the panes of one of the windows of the crematorium visible behind him did not correspond to any of the drawings or photographs. I kept on questioning the person in charge of this service until he told me the truth: it was a still taken from the film La Passagère by Andrzej Munk, a work that remained unfinished because of the death of its maker in a car accident on 20th September 1961. I had seen it in France when I was very young and did not remember all the sequences, but the study of this photograph in comparison with others had proved to me that it was not authentic, despite its appearance and the fact that it was presented as such.

Faurisson was, and still is, incapable of carrying out this kind of study. Furthermore he is totally incapable of reading a drawing. It was fortunate for him that he came across an amateur like me. After our first contact in February 1980, there followed a long series of joint working sessions where I learned all the bases of the revisionist argument beginning, of course, with the compulsory reading of Paul Rassinier's books. This author had doubts, but they were relatively slight because he lacked the documentation now available. His timid remarks were those of student compared with the “ex cathedra” demonstrations of Professor Doctor Robert Faurisson. The latter DENIES ONLY THE HOMICIDAL GAS CHAMBERS, not the rest: the deportation, concentration camps, suffering, malnutrition, slave labor, ill treatment. sickness, epidemics, crematoriums. NO, THE GAS CHAMBERS ONLY. The stratagem is that if the gas chambers are demolished, all the rest will follow and be denounced. He very quickly saw that I had a gift for reading end explaining drawings. To obtain “positive” results, those to help his cause, he was obliged to open his flies to me and have me work on them. And that is what I did. My collaboration with Faurisson involved only the documents he had collected. His surprising hypothesis had literally seduced me. But stimulating as the idea was, it turned out to be negative. I tested it on out on my entourage. Those who were not Jews saw it as just one more bluff in the daily flood of them, Those who were Jews did not even react violently, They were disarming and made me understand that there were limits that could not be transgressed. My arguments were taken into account, my good faith recognized, but that did not restore their father, mother, brother and sisters, the entire families annihilated. Faurisson has in fact never given a real answer on this point, never explained what happened to a million people, whom, according to him, it was technically impossible to have exterminated. Guillaume declared, acting as his master's voice, that “they were transferred at Kosel station, 120 km from Auschwitz”.

[This indication of the distance is typical of the “Faurisson method”, a mixture of truth and lies, in order to be always right. Saying that Kosel or Kozle is 120 km from Auschwitz is true and false AT THE SAME TIME. Kosel is 82 km from Auschwitz as. the crow flies, 97 km by the northern route passing through Gliwice, Mikolow and Tychy. and 120 km by the southern route via Raciborz, Rybnik, Zory, Pszczyna and Brzeszcze. Faurisson omits to say that this miraculous station lies to the west of Auschwitz. Any reasonable motorist wishing to go from Kozle to Oswiecim would take the northern route, but he would be wrong. The shortest route is not the best one, and the only true route in the southern one, indicated by the master. ALL Faurisson's references, remarks, explanations and arguments are “loaded” to this way. His truth is the plausible interpretation of facts that have never existed.]

In the gospel according to Saint Faurisson, 950,000 people vanished into the countryside from Kozle station and spread to the four corners of the earth. Nobody has since been able to find them.

I did not know that on 15th February 1979 Faurisson had received a summons to appear before the court to answer charges brought by the LICRA (Ligue Internationale Contre le Racisme et l'Antisémitisme]. Other organizations had joined the plaintiff, such as ANFROMF, UNADIF, FNDIR, CAR, l'Amicale des deportes d'Auschwitz et des camps en Haute Silésie, MRAP, les Fils et Filles des Déportés Juifs de France, and the UNDIVG was also to appear. I only gradually discovered the legal shackles that hampered him. His immediate concern was to defend himself. As regards his trial, the immediate problem was that of the Struthof gas chamber. I was given a crash course, and accompanied him to consult the archives of the Struthof trial at the Palais de Justice in Paris. This led to an episode that made me see the “honest and meticulous” professor in a more worrying light. 86 Jewish victims met their death in the Struthof gas chamber (of 30 women and 57 men sent from Auschwitz, one was shot and the rest were gassed). They had left administrative traces. The weekly report on the numbers of prisoners indicate the presence on on 14th August 1943 of 90 Jews, of whom 30 “left” deceased, and on 21st August 1943, among the 60 remaining, there were 57 further deaths, The cause of death (even if uncertain) was normally entered on the reverse side of the reports. But the backs of the reports on these 87 Jews were blank. What is more, each death in the camp was reported to and noted in the Natzweiler town hall. No mention of these dead Jews. These two documents are damning evidence. Faurisson, after checking all the weekly reports still conserved, put forward the explanation that those of the 14th and 21st August 1943 were printed in gothic script while previous ones had been in roman script. Confused by this change in the forms, the SS made a mistake with the line and instead of inscribing the 87 on the line marked “Entlassung / liberation”, mistakenly entered them on the line marked “Todesfalle / deaths”. His poor argument rang in my ears like a warning bell. The first warning sound had come when I read the following passage in Vérité historique... by Thion, page 314:
"I made one of the Auschwitz Museum officials. Mr Jan Machkel, come to the place [in Krematorium I]. I showed him the furnaces. I asked him: “Are they authentic?” He replied “Of course!” I then passed my finger across the mouth of one of the furnaces. I showed him that there was no soot [underlined by J-C Pressac. Fancy expecting in find soot 35 years afterwards!]. With an embarrassed air [why?), he told me that these furnaces were a “reconstitution” [the Museum's own photographs prove it].
A professor's reputation fades after such a remark.

Faurisson becoming more and more preoccupied by his trial, it fell to me to continue the study of the “so called” gas chambers at Auschwitz. I accepted on condition that I would be able to remain anonymous. And indeed I was, right to the end. When I am able to refute a historical inaccuracy, with certainty and the support of solid proof, then I do not hesitate to do so if this correction does not harm individual persons. If it does, then I seek advice first or I abstain. In order to be able to work properly, I needed peace and quiet, which was impossible in the atmosphere of the trials.

During April and May, I thoroughly studied my photographic evidence. In the following months, working from the fragments provided, I produced seventeen bound drawings, most of them in color [3 of Krematorium I at Auschwitz, 4 of Krematorium IV at Birkenau (and the Natzweiler crematorium). 2 of Krematorium III and 8 of Krematorium II] in order to make it easier for him to read the drawings and understand the architecture and arrangement of these crematoriums, At the revisionist congress in Washington on 11th August he wrote to me: “The few people to whom I have been able to show your material were most impressed, They find it outstanding”. Without false modesty, I had worked like a Trojan. As a “reward” I was able to take with me to Ireland. where I was spending my holidays, a photocopy of his manuscript Vous avez dit Kremer? [Did you say Kremer?], which was later to become Mémoire en defense [Statement for the defense], which enabled to me follow the genesis and development of the “Faurisson Affair” as well as his own explanations. I carefully went through it all with a fine tooth comb. It very quickly became apparent to me that his interpretation of “Vergasungskeller / gassing cellar” as “gas-generating cellar”, though perfect in its literary form, was technically worthless [I later found that he had taken it from the work by Arthur R Butz, The hoax of the twentieth century. Butz, though a product of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is as hopeless as Faurisson on technical matters]. As regards the criticism of the diary of Johann Paul Kremer [reserve SS doctor posted to KL Auschwitz from 30th August to 18th November 1942] I had my doubts (again!) about the explanation of the word “Zonderaktion / special action” and the expression “last Bunker”, Faurisson's arguments not being very convincing. Despite these few clouds I was finding in the clear sky of the revisionists, I began to sincerely believe that this “crazy hypotheses” had a very good chance of turning out to be correct. As