The Pleven Act of restricts our freedom of tone when speaking of certain persons, and the Fabius-Gayssot Act forbids us to be so daring as to think for ourselves about certain points of Second World War history. It can thus be seen that the intolerable intolerance reigning in this country at the time of the "Liberation" and the "weeding out" of the "collaborators" nonetheless allowed a certain daring and freedom which, in , are not tolerated in the least. In France in people were still being killed by firing squad for crimes of conscience. Abject figures of the political or press spheres, from both right and left, set up shop as censors and prosecutors.
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The Pleven Act of restricts our freedom of tone when speaking of certain persons, and the Fabius-Gayssot Act forbids us to be so daring as to think for ourselves about certain points of Second World War history. It can thus be seen that the intolerable intolerance reigning in this country at the time of the "Liberation" and the "weeding out" of the "collaborators" nonetheless allowed a certain daring and freedom which, in , are not tolerated in the least.
In France in people were still being killed by firing squad for crimes of conscience. Abject figures of the political or press spheres, from both right and left, set up shop as censors and prosecutors.
Yet one could still get away with a few sensible observations, even sarcastic remarks, concerning the version of the history of the war that the victors were at the time trying to impose. Today the victors have achieved their aim. There, the gag is in place, well in place. Words like those used by Paraz in writing about the matter would nowadays earn him fines, imprisonment, and a plethora of other tribulations. But on the gas chambers, niet: the ukase of 13 July is there; the leagues of virtue keep a watchful eye on revisionists: they intervene with bombs, vitriol, arson attacks, or But let us return to the thorniest question: that of the execution gas chambers in certain German concentration camps, for it is indeed the central point of both the book and its preface.
On 16 September , "about a hundred yards from my house", I myself just missed getting murdered by three Jewish thugs; the police report, for its part, made mention of "young Jewish activists from Paris". Like a Palestinian, I underwent that day a treatment which aims to dispatch the victim by means of kicks to the head. A young man appeared on the scene, putting the assailants to flight, and the next day, upon learning my name, confessed to the police that he regretted having saved my life.
I relate this anecdote only because it resembles closely enough that told by Paraz. I could just as well recall here the nine other assaults which I had to suffer from to , and several dozen attacks carried out against other revisionists who have, on occasion, been maimed or killed. Out of caution, I shall avoid commenting on other passages of the preface which deal with the subject and, leaving all of that to one side, refer the reader to the 3 December issue of Le Monde.
Here we are indeed far from the style of Paraz, his alacrity and natural freshness, his home-grown finesse ; with this Wacjman, the reasoning is somewhat obscure and the style convoluted, but one can tell what he is getting at easily enough.
The underlying debate seems to me to have been inspired by the challenge which I formulated in "Show me or draw me a Nazi gas chamber! Godard finds himself accused by G. To which G. Wacjman replies, clearly for once: Beneath this smooth and guileless exterior there lies a poisonous idea.
To have out with it, it worries me. Obviously I am not dealing with the question of whether or not images of the gas chambers exist. I know nothing about that. Who needs a picture? Fifty years on nothing has been found, not even "a little bit of something": a fine business! No matter! Besides, if any evidence at all turned up, what would that prove?
The gas chambers existed. I know it. Yet, I have never seen them. I have not seen them work. I have seen remains, I have seen the places, I have seen pictures of the open crematoria, I have seen reconstitutions of the gas chambers, but the men, the children, the women running naked in the corridors, pushed into the showers, dying of asphyxiation as they tried to climb on top of each other, I have never seen them. Yet, I know that that took place.
I know it just as everyone knows it apart from those who do not wish to know it as we know that there are billions of galaxies in an infinite universe, without ever having seen them.
I know that the gas chambers took place [sic] because there are witnesses, evidence too. No pictures but an infinite accumulation of words, private or public, of the victims or of the henchmen. The readable part of the article ends with the pronouncement of an atrocious suspicion: If after twenty years, twenty centuries of research, it is concluded that there exists no image of that which must necessarily have an image, will that not suffice to justify, according to reason, the suspicion that, after all, it may not have existed?
After this heartrending query, G. Paraz, so clear-sighted, so pessimistic, so convinced that we would be in "for centuries" of this "story" of the gas chambers and its consequences, would he have imagined that, forty-eight years on from the day in June when he finished his preface, the scathing attack launched by Rassinier would still be as scathing as ever?
Like many pamphleteers, Paraz, deep down inside, believed in Man. He advocated peace, even pacifism, European reconciliation, resistance to all brands of propaganda, the anti-Kraut as well as the anti-Soviet.
He believed in the possibility of honesty and in the possibility of the independence of the historian, to the point of writing that "a group of historians must be brought together immediately" to get to the bottom of it all: the actual facts and the true numbers: an impartial group without Germans, without Jews and made up, for instance, of Indians, Chinese, Blacks, Japanese p.
Up to his very last days Paraz, deathly ill but without a thought for himself, could be seen going to the aid of the reprobates of his time: the anarchist or libertarian Louis Lecoin, the socialist Paul Rassinier, the Fascist? All throughout this preface, it is a French heart that I myself hear beating.
By his generosity, his gallantry, his style, but also by a certain form of unawareness, Paraz the pacifist resembles, like a comrade in arms, the knight in armour Louis Ferdinand who, as we know, set off so jauntily on his voyage to the end of the night.
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Lettres à Albert Paraz : 1947-1957
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Lisons Albert Paraz