Vincent Reynouard is an independent French historian specializing in the Second World War who has been punished repeatedly for violating France's controversial "Gayssot" law, which criminalizes dissident views on certain aspects of twentieth century history.For more by and about him, see the French-language website: http://www.phdnm.org/ , and , http://sansconcessiontv.org/phdnm/
Born in 1969, Reynouard studied in Caen, Normandy, and graduated as a chemical engineer. He then taught mathematics at professional secondary schools. In 1997 he was dismissed as a teacher by the French Education Minister after the discovery of revisionist texts on the hard disk of the computer he used at school. Since then Reynouard has survived on his writings, videos and other work as an independent historian.
Reynouard is a traditionalist Catholic who is sympathetic to the legacy of Third Reich Germany and National Socialism. Married in 1991, he and his wife are the parents of eight children.
He is the author of several dozen essays or brochures on diverse subjects, mostly dealing with World War II. He is the author of a book about the Oradour-sur-Glane killings, a clash in a French village in June 1944 between German SS troops and French Resistance fighters in which 640 civilians died.
For a time he was responsible for the French-language operations of VHO, an independent Belgian revisionist history center that has published in Dutch, German, French and other languages. Reynouard has repeatedly been a victim of legal persecution for his writings and videos. On several occasions he has been prosecuted and convicted for "thought crimes."
On October 8, 1992, a court in Caen, France, sentenced him to one month in prison (suspended), and fined him 5000 francs (about $850) for violating the country's "Gayssot" law that makes it a crime to "contest" or dispute certain "crimes against humanity," as defined by the Charter of the Nuremberg Tribunal (IMT) of 1945-46. Specifically, he was punished for having sent to 24 secondary school pupils anonymous letters along with copies of writings that dispute claims of gas chamber killings during World War II.
In June 2004 Reynouard was sentenced to two years in prison for having produced and distributed a video on the tragedy of Oradour-sur-Glane that allegedly approved war crimes. However that ruling was later overturned by another court. An earlier confiscation of his research papers was validated.
On November 8, 2007, a court in Saverne (Lower Rhine), France, sentenced Reynouard to one year in prison, and to pay a fine of 10,000 euros (about $13,000) for "contesting crimes against humanity" by writing and distributing a 16-page brochure entitled "The Holocaust: What They Hide from You." He was also ordered to pay 3,000 euros to the anti-racist association LICRA. His incarceration attracted public attention, and hundreds signed a petition to press for his release and the repeal of the French "denial" law.
On June 25, 2008, the Court of Appeals in Colmar (Alsace) upheld the one-year prison sentence and ordered Reynouard to pay a total of 60,000 euros, which included a fine of 20,000 euros, damages, and the cost of publishing a notice with extracts from this judgment in the "Official Journal of the French Republic," as well as in two French daily newspapers. Meanwhile, Reynouard fled with his family to neighboring Belgium.
In June 2008, a court in Brussels, Belgium, declared Reynouard and Belgian VHO publisher Siegfried Verbeke guilty of "disputing crimes against humanity" for having written and published "Holocaust denial" literature. The two men were sentenced to one year imprisonment and to pay a fine of 25,000 euros, as well as damages and various other costs. In 2011 an appeals court upheld the sentence.
In February 2015, a criminal court in Normandy sentenced Reynouard to two years in prison for "Holocaust denial" (or négationnisme) in videos he had posted on social media. In addition, the French court ordered him to pay 4,500 euros in damages. Reynouard had represented himself in the three-hour trial in the city of Coutances, although he was not present for the verdict.
This sentence came in the aftermath of emphatic expressions of support for freedom of speech -- by politicians, in the media and in large rallies -- following the killing by Muslim extremists of staff members of the French satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, which had enraged Muslims for its demeaning cartoons of Muhammed. The sentence of Reynouard showed, once again, that in France there are very real limits on freedom of speech - restrictions that reflect the outlook and interests of those who have power and influence.
Reynouard has written:
"Historical revisionism belongs to no one. Its findings are the fruit of traditional methods of inquiry where scientific expertise assists in the appraisal of testimonies and in documentary research. They will be obvious to any honest individual, whether on the political left or right, [religious] believer or atheist ...
"... Its implications extend well beyond the historical scope. The stakes involved, gigantic ones, are political and even theological. If some refuse to see this - because of blindness, cowardice or mistaken strategy - our adversaries, for their part, have understood quite well. They know that a sudden bursting through of the historical truth about the period 1914-1946 would call into question the world order founded at Nuremberg in 1945-1946 ...
"The way ahead, therefore, is all laid out for us: we must continue to repeat the truth, the whole truth, including the truth about what's at stake in this struggle. Far from being merely a sterile quarrel between devotees of the past cut off from present-day realities, the fight for historical truth is, on the contrary, the continuation, on the intellectual level, of the war whose armed phase ended in 1945 with the defeat of the Axis forces. And it's clear that this conflict, having begun not on September 3, 1939, but on January 30, 1933, is the modern form of the eternal struggle between Light and Darkness. In the twentieth century, National Socialist Germany embodied - doubtless imperfectly but successfully all the same - the very last attempt to return to a well-ordered society, that is, a society respecting the natural order.
"This is the reason why, even after the Third Reich was completely crushed militarily, the war continued, and has continued up to today. Our opponents in this never-ending fight have a weapon of mass destruction: the alleged 'Holocaust.' Since 1945, this lie has prevented any dispassionate debate on National Socialism and, more generally, on societies that respect natural order. 'We know where that led! ...' is how people constantly respond to those who, against the 'Rights of Man' and their natural offspring: the unleashing of all selfish inclinations, dare speak of order, the Common Good, wholesomeness, moral standards, safeguarding the genetic heritage, the birth rate, rights of kinship ...
"The German homicidal gas chambers never existed. Yes, 'the Holocaust' is a myth. For my part, I add: Yes, Hitler embodied the hope of Europe in the face of the ruinous ideals of 1789; Yes, we must take up the best of what National Socialism comprised in order finally to surpass it and forge a doctrine that will be able to save our Old Continent."
Updated March 2015