May 18, 2007

Italian university closes campus to block French professor who denies Nazi gas chambers

An Italian university closed one of its campuses for the day Friday to prevent a planned lecture by a retired French professor who denies gas chambers were used in Nazi concentration camps.

Robert Faurisson, who has been convicted five times in France for denying crimes against humanity, had been expected to speak at a local hotel instead but that conference too was later canceled after scuffles with protesters.

Faurisson had been invited to give a lecture at the University of Teramo, in central Italy, by Claudio Moffa, a professor of Asian and African history and director of a master's program in Middle East studies.

Police in Teramo said both Moffa and Faurisson had to be escorted out of a cafe where they were having a small press conference on Friday after a group of about 100 people staged a lively protest in the street, shouting insults at them.

Moffa was also pushed by a protester, said police official Mimmo De Carolis. When reached by telephone, Moffa said the lecture had been canceled because of the attack but gave no other details.

The University of Teramo had cited security fears surrounding the lecture in announcing the closure of its campus housing the law, political sciences and communications departments. "(There is) a climate of tension which could put in danger the safety of the students," the university said in a statement.

Faurisson has caused outrage in France, arguing for a decade against evidence that Nazi Germany systematically destroyed the Jews. He maintains that no gas chambers were used in Nazi concentration camps during World War II.

The university administration had issued an official warning to Moffa to cancel the invitation, arguing that Faurisson's qualifications were "absolutely inadequate and don't deserve academic legitimation."

Moffa had cited his right to teach freely in defending his invitation to Faurisson.

"I want to specify that I am not a denier, but I think it is fair to allow a free debate and different interpretations of historical events," Moffa wrote on his Web site.

The Nazi-hunting Simon Wiesenthal Center had urged the university to cancel the event.

"To welcome Faurisson is an embarrassment to Italian academia, offends the families of Italian martyrs who fell in fighting the scourge of fascism ... and encourages a perverse propaganda to incite a new generation to anti-Semitism and racist doctrine," the center said in a statement.

Last year, Faurisson took part in a conference in Iran, which gathered some of the most well-known U.S. and European Holocaust deniers, to debate whether the World War II genocide of Jews took place.

The gathering touched off a firestorm of indignation across the world and particularly in Europe, where many countries have made it a crime to publicly disavow the Nazis' systematic extermination of 6 million Jews.

International Herald Tribune


Anonymous said...

That plonker Joey Owens has released his 'book'
You can review it at

Antifascist said...

Sadly he sent us a copy direct. We weren't going to review it at all, partly on the grounds that it's just a puff for Joey but largely because it's crap and we couldn't be bothered to read more than the first couple of dozen pages.

Anonymous said...

Nice of Joey to call himself a plonker when he posts his self-promotion, mind.

Anonymous said...