Law’s Holocaust Denial

David Fraser

in Genocide Denials and the Law

Published in print January 2011 | ISBN: 9780199738922
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199895199 | DOI:
Law’s Holocaust Denial

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Denial raises difficult, if not intractable, questions about the role to be played by legal prescription in relation to historical “fact.” This chapter begins by tracing in broad terms the social, political, historical, and legal parameters of the debates, with a specific focus on the place of the catastrophe of the killing of six million Jews in the Shoah. It underscores an important instance of law's forgetting of itself and its role—not just in the institutional precursors of the Shoah—but in the post-Holocaust, post-Nuremberg construction of militant democracy and its institutional defenses against the rise of fascism, and more particularly, the use of Holocaust denial as an ideological and political tool in a resurgent fascism. The chapter then turns to law's troubled past, arguing that when it comes to denial(s) and the law, we still live “under the shadow of Weimar.”. This is followed by a discussion of the heated debates in France over so-called lois mémorielles—memorial laws, or more accurately perhaps, memory laws. Many leading historians and lawyers in France have expressed their anger at what they perceive to be increasingly pernicious legislative intervention into the domain of “history”.

Keywords: Holocaust denial; law; legal history; Weimar; memory laws; France

Chapter.  19356 words. 

Subjects: Public International Law

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