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Assassins of Memory Paperback – April 15, 1993

ISBN-13: 978-0231074599 ISBN-10: 023107459X Edition: 0th

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Product Details

  • Series: European Perspectives : a Series in Social Philosophy and Cultural Criticism
  • Paperback: 205 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia Univ Pr (April 15, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 023107459X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231074599
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,874,443 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

This is a collection of essays written in the 1980s in response to those who deny the reality of the Holocaust. The writer, a scholar of ancient Greece who teaches at the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Science Sociales in Paris, is torn by the dilemma of how to provide a necessary critique of academics who reject the genocide of European Jewry without at the same time dignifying them as a possibly legitimate "revisionist" school of intellectual thought. Vidal-Naquet writes persuasively and often passionately in response to Robert Faurisson, a French professor of literature, whose arguments have appeared in Le Monde and other outlets for French intellectuals, and also takes to task American linguist Noam Chomsky, who wrote a preface to one of Faurisson's books. Vidal-Naquet offers an interesting perspective on a debate that should not have taken place. For informed readers.
- Frank L. Wilson, Purdue Univ., West Lafayette, Ind .
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Review

In these essays the eminent French classicist Pierre Vidal-Naquet engages the issues raised by the denial of the Holocaust with an extraordinary fusion of moral passion and historical vigor. -- Yosef Hayim Yerushalmi Columbia University

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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Inna Tysoe VINE VOICE on August 6, 2003
Format: Hardcover
This is a commentary on our age as much as it is a series of essays about the people Vidal-Naquet calls assassins of memory. And a sad commentary it is. For it features some of our greatest minds and some of our most revered institutions.
Here is Chomsky, proudly proclaiming that "It is the responsibility of intellectuals to speak the truth and expose lies"... shortly before penning a preface to Robert Faurisson's book--a book that denied the Holocaust. (Chomsky later realized what he had done and frantically called the publisher to omit his preface).
Here is an institute that finances revisionis activities offering $50,000 to anyone who could prove the existence of a gas chamber. A gentleman who had seen his entire family murdered accepted only to find that the conditions of "proof" were set so high that only a person who HAD been gassed could, in fact, prove the existence of a gas chamber.
Here is Jean-Paul Sartre's report on genocide--a report which omits the Armenian genocide so as not to offend the Pakistani and Turkish authorities.
Here is the origin of the book's title for those who would deny the Holocaust, "chose their target well: they are intent at striking a community in the thousand painful fibers that continue to link itself to its own past."
Here is the French Court struggling with the concept of "crimes against humanity" on December 20, 1985.
And here is the state of the French libraries. "Neither at the Sorbonne nor at the Bibliotheque Nationale can one find fundamental documentation concerning Auschwitz, which has to be consulted, for the most part, at the Centre de Documentation Juive Contemporaire, which itself is far from possessing all that it should."

It seems Vidal-Naquet is amply justified in concluding "Will the truth have the last word? How one would like to be sure of it....."
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Lucie Novak on June 28, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book is an excellent summary of the holocaust and the controversies which have arisen around it in the past years. Everybody who has ever had any doubts about the holocaust should read this book to realize how dangerous is to deny a historical event for the collective memory of the people. Vidal-Naquet is brilliant in his sociological-discoursive method. A first-class historical treatise.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Al on June 2, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Pierre Vidal-Naquet's book is not primarily a rebuttal of revisionism, but it does include that. He is mainly writing about the revisionists and how the larger society deals with them. A Frenchman, he is mostly concerned with the most in/famous Holocaust revisionist, Robert Faurisson. He describes who Faurisson is, and how French society reacted to him,and Holocaust revisionism generally, in the 1980's(the book includes 5 essays, written from 1980 to 1987.) I found that the book was a really good look at French society at that time.
My main interest, though, was whether Vidal-Naquet disproves the revisionists, and I find that he does a very effective job of disproving Faurisson.
The most important document Vidal-Naquet references is the diary of Johann Paul Kremer, an SS physician who was at Auschwitz from August 30 to November 18, 1942, when the Final Solution was in full swing.
Kremer uses the term Sonderaktionen several times in his diary, and Vidal-Naquet makes clear that Kremer is referring to killing. For example, a very damning quote from the diary for Oct 12: "I attended during the night a special action for people coming from the Netherlands (1,600 persons). Frightful scenes in front of the bunker! It was the tenth special action."
As Vidal-Naquet points out, Faurisson has claimed that "It will be observed that when he[Kremer] speaks of the horrors of Auschwitz, it is an allusion to the typhus epidemic... The sorting out of the ill from the healthy was the "selection" or one of the forms of the "special action" performed by the physician."
Vidal-Naquet points out that "There is not a single passage in the Diary in which Kremer speaks about typhus in connection with the "special actions." pp. 47-49.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Lucie Novak on June 28, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book is an excellent summary of the holocaust and the controversies which have arisen around it in the past years. Everybody who has ever had any doubts about the holocaust should read this book to realize how dangerous is to deny a historical event for the collective memory of the people. Vidal-Naquet is brilliant in his sociological-discoursive method. A first-class historical treatise.
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4 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Allison Q. Doe on March 1, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Great insights on the truth about the Holocaust
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