French comic Dieudonne M’Bala M’Bala, inventor of the “quenelle” Nazi salute-like hand gesture, is presenting a lawsuit at the European Court of Human Rights on Tuesday, over an $11, 000 fine he received for inviting a Holocaust-denier on stage.
In December 2008, Dieudonne awarded Holocaust denier Robert Faurisson with a prize at the Zenith theatre in Paris, which he later told a French court “was very funny.”
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Faurisson began his career as Holocaust denier in 1974, when he sent Yad Vashem a letter arguing that there had been no genocide of Jews during World War II. He based his assertions on the testimony of Nazi officials such as Rudolf Höss. He testified in defense of Canadian-German Holocaust denier Ernst Zündel, and contributed to the “Leuchter Report, ” a renowned Holocaust-denial publication. In 1978, Faurisson published “The Diary of Anne Frank — Is It Authentic?” The Dutch-language translation in 1985 already bore the modified title, “The Diary of Anne Frank — A Forgery.” The text questioned various elements of the Diary of Anne Frank, including the use of a vacuum cleaner by the Frank family in hiding.
The French judges disagreed with Dieudonne over how funny the event with Faurisson had been, saying the show had “crossed very far over the line of what is acceptable in humor, ” and slapped him with the $11, 000 fine.