Roger Garaudy: Veteran of the Resistance who later became a Holocaust denier
Monday 25 June 2012
Roger Garaudy, who died in Paris on 13 June at the age of 98, was a long-time Communist who fought in the French resistance in the Second World War but became a Holocaust denier in old age.
The philosopher was fined 120,000 francs by a Paris court in 1998 for his anti-Zionist work The Founding Myths of Israeli Politics. The court found that his account had distorted the wartime deaths of an estimated six million Jews.
His career was marked by feuds. His dispute with another philosopher, the social theorist Michel Foucault, led him to change universities, and he even turned on the Muslim cleric who converted him to Islam.
Born in Marseille in 1913 into a Catholic family – he later became a Protestant – Garaudy joined the French Communist Party in 1933 while he was a university student; he was eventually expelled from the Party in 1970 after he criticised the 1968 Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, although he had defended the Soviet intervention in Hungary 12 years earlier.
After university he fought in the Second World War, receiving the Croix de Guerre, was sent to a prison camp in Algeria by the Vichy government, and then worked with the Resistance radio and the Communist newspaper Liberté after he was freed.
After the war, he served in parliament as a Communist deputy and senator. Within the Party hierarchy he was known as "the Cardinal" both for his sense of authority and his attraction towards the Church. He was for years the darling of the French media and intellectual milieu for his philosophical work and his political courage. He taught philosophy at the universities of Clermont-Ferrand and Poitiers and wrote around 70 books, describing himself as a Don Quixote fighting the windmills of capitalism.
Garaudy converted to Islam in 1982. He became an extreme anti-Zionist – The Founding Myths of Modern Israel claimed that most of the Jews sent to concentration camps died of typhus and were not deliberately killed.
While his anti-Zionist stance made him a pariah at home, it won him may friends in the Muslim world. The head of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, for example, cited his treatment as an example of the West's "hypocrisy and duplicity", and in 2002, Garaudy won the then Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi's human rights prize. The head of the Representative Council of French Jewish Institutions, Richard Prasquier, said, however: "He ended up pitifully, on an intellectual level, with the lowest kind of revisionism."
- 1 Sabina Altynbekova, the girl branded 'too good looking' for volleyball, says social media obsession with her is a 'bit much'
- 2 Disney heiress Abigail disowns her share of family profits in West Bank company
- 3 Israel's propaganda machine is finally starting to misfire
- 4 Zayn Malik on Israel-Gaza: One Direction singer bombarded with Twitter death threats after posting #FreePalestine
- 5 'Hello mum, this is going to be hard for you to read ...'
Russell Brand accuses FOX News anchor Sean Hannity of terrorism after aggressive Israel-Gaza debate
Sally Farmiloe dead: Howards' Way actress, and former mistress of Jeffrey Archer, dies aged 60
Sabina Altynbekova, the girl branded 'too good looking' for volleyball, says social media obsession with her is a 'bit much'
Disney heiress Abigail disowns her share of family profits in West Bank company
Australian model Robyn Lawley stages naked protest against huge coal mine seven times the size of Sydney Harbour
The secret report that helps Israel hide facts
Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
Putin is 'thuggish, dishonest and reckless', says British ambassador to US
Richard Dawkins tweets: 'Date rape is bad, stranger rape is worse'
Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – Britain as others see us
- < Previous
- Next >
£21804 - £31868 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Qualified and experi...
£21588 - £31552 per annum: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Exceptional teacher ...
£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: Would you like to be part ...
£100 - £120 per day: Randstad Education Chelmsford: We are currently recruitin...