A long planned trip to the UK by one of the world’s leading Holocaust deniers ended in chaos. And the very next day he popped his jackboots.
Robert Faurisson’s extreme-right hosts had put in place a massive security effort for his visit to Shepperton, the town where he was born to a French father and Scottish mother in January 1929. But the day had not gone well.
An audience of 60 like-minded historical revisionists had made their way to a secretive reception on Saturday 20 October at a hotel in Shepperton, arranged by Peter Rushton, assistant editor of the intellectual Nazi publication Heritage and Destiny. Also among the hosts were the well known Holocaust deniers Michèle Renouf, Max Musson and Richard Edmonds. After an opening speech by Vincent Reynouard, who is hiding out in the UK in the face of a European arrest warrant, the audience – and an invited camera team from a Lebanese television station – were regaled by Faurisson boasting about his “research” which had “proved” that the Nazi gas chambers were faked.
As he was coming to the end of his speech, the hotel management demanded that Rushton close the meeting. Rushton refused, and according to a report on the Heritage and Destiny website, the management “harassed the audience … turning out the lights, setting off the fire alarm and playing loud disco music …”.
The speech turned out to be Faurisson’s swansong. The next evening, as he crossed the threshold of his home in Vichy, France, he suffered a heart attack and died instantly. His death brings an end to several ongoing prosecutions against him in France for his Holocaust denying activities, which might have added to his many convictions for incitement to race hatred and denial of crimes against humanity.
Faurisson first emerged on the public scene in the 1970s when he lectured and published with the Institute for Historical Review, a notorious American Holocaust denial outfit. He twice testified in defence of the German-Canadian Holocaust denier Ernst Zündel, whose work landed him with several convictions before his death in August 2017.
Faurisson also claimed that The Diary of Anne Frank was fraudulent. In 2012 he received an award for “courage” from Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who during his period as president of Iran from 2005 to 2013 keenly promoted antisemitism and Holocaust denial.
Speculation is mounting over who tipped off the Shepperton hotel management about the real nature of the “private reception” enabling them to react so commendably. All the audience members had been personally invited. However for some time people have wondered about the identity of a senior member of the gay circle that functions inside the top level of British Nazism, who assisted a young Swedish anti-fascist working for Hope not Hate to infiltrate British Nazi circles. The suspicious absence from the Shepperton gathering of one of that circle will have been noted.