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Florent Brayard: 'The Holocaust made global justice possible'


The French historian reveals secrets of the great Nazi plot, such as, for example, that Goebbels was unaware of the so-called final solution. He will talk with Judge Daniel Rafecas.

Why, 80 years after the Wannsee conference, do we go to a library and find a new book on Jewish persecution?


Auschwitz: Investigation on a Nazi Conspiracy

(Arpa) was published in Spanish in 2019, the original text is from 2012 and, despite the fact that the author will shortly add a chapter with an eighty-page update, the conclusion does not change: Although many important figures of the

Nazi regime

knew of the ultimate intention to finish off the Jews, they did not have full information of the events during the decisive phase of the Jews, and even believed that they would only be deported or sent to the island of



This is what the author Florent Brayard maintains, who throughout more than 500 pages demonstrates that it is possible to shed new light on the



In turn, the text dialogues with other outstanding works on the Shoah, such as those by

Raul Hilberg


Christopher Browning

, because, after all, history is written dialectically.

Brayard (1967) is director of research at the

Center National de la Recherche Scientifique

, author of

La solution finale de la question juive;

The technique, the times and the categories of the decision


He leads a monthly seminar on the “final solution” with his

Holocaust History and Historiography

team .

Before participating in the seventh edition of the

Night of Ideas

, where he will talk with

Daniel Rafecas

, and just landed in a high-temperature Buenos Aires, the French historian talked with Ñ.

Florent Brayard maintains that Hitler's decision to kill all the Jews in Europe was taken in December 1941."Photo: Rolando Andrade Stracuzzi.

–The talk in which you will participate is entitled “More secret?

The final solution of the Jewish question” and will be the prelude to the dialogue “More memory.

New mutations to the extreme right”.

It is important to understand how secrecy and memory dialogue.

–Secret and memory have an obvious connection, because memory also means forgetting.

That is, you not only remember but also forget, and it is part of memory.

I make history and that is how I deal with the past, to make that past present and not forget it, that is why I started working on the history and memory of the


– or the


– about 30 years ago and it is very important for me to make sure that every part of this tragic event is still remembered today.

Why is it necessary to question that secret over and over again?

–The question is not why it is necessary to question the secrets themselves, but why it is necessary to question history over and over again, and the reason is multiple.

First, new sources became available over the years: for example, in the 1990s, after the fall of the wall between Eastern and Western Europe, the Russian government made available a huge collection of secret files. .

There were miles of files that the Russian army took in 1944, 1945 and kept secret for several decades.

In these archives we have found numerous documents that enabled us historians to write and detail a much better history of the Final Solution, particularly as regards the murder of the Eastern Jews.

First of all,

those new archival documents are available by chance.

The second thing is that the question that is asked is not the same for each generation, and it is very important that each generation takes responsibility for this history and asks itself questions.

For me, the interest in the question of secrecy is the result of two things: the first is that there is a dominant interpretation of the Holocaust and the decision-making process that stipulates what was said in the 1990s, but Hitler's decision to kill all the Jews in Europe was taken in December 1941, that is, a couple of weeks before Wannsee, the famous conference where it was said that this decision to kill the Jews was made public to the highest Nazi hierarchs.

But other historians still think – this is my case – that the decision to kill in general was not taken before Wannsee but after, say between April and June 1942, and the result of this hypothesis, which is supported by several documents, is that the question of secrecy cannot be questioned in the same way whether the decision is made before Wannsee or after Wannsee.

I was asked to do a critical edition of the diaries of (Joseph) Goebbels and in this way I read them very closely.

There are 43 volumes and by doing this systematic approach I observed that saying that Goebbels was informed, say in the autumn or at the end of 1941, 1942 is questionable because some extracts are found in the later period.

In my opinion, it can be interpreted as clues that Goebbels was not really fully informed.

Ravensbrück concentration camp.

–You wrote that history “progresses dialectically, by progressive approximation: it is corrected by various hands”.

What reactions have you received from other historians?

–There were critics who were totally against my proposal, but there were also other colleagues who read my research very closely and decided to change their own conclusions, for example when the book was translated.

When a new book, hypothesis, or conclusion is proposed, then you have to correct the way you were thinking about that subject.

– How do you address possible criticisms or accusations of historical revisionism that your book may receive?

I'm just saying it's nothing serious.

I have dedicated my entire life to establishing the story of the killing of Jews and fighting Holocaust denial, but such claims also show that the Holocaust story is still very much at the center of a political appreciation of reality, because the Holocaust continues to being so important in our political approach to the world that people can say passionate and sometimes, unfortunately, stupid things.

Photo exhibited at the Auschwitz Memorial and Museum.

Why are we witnessing a return of anti-Semitism given history?

–There are several aspects and the most bitter interpretation is that after several decades the impact of the discovery of


is probably fading.

– What do you think of the arrest warrant issued by the International Criminal Court against Vladimir Putin for war crimes in Ukraine, and, in parallel, the support for the Russian leader of the extreme right-wing conspiracy?

–The accusation against


is fantastic, but it is exactly a consequence of the Holocaust, which means that it is because of this war that, in 1943, the international community thought that it was truly necessary to have international justice.

And so it is that at that time we developed the tools that now allow us to impeach the president of one of the most important states in the world.

And what's also very interesting is that we're doing this for a very special crime which is taking Ukrainian children to


and having them adopted by Russian people, which is legally a crime of genocide, of course.

The crime of


and our understanding of how unacceptable such policies are is also the result of the

World War II

and Hitler.

Florent Brayard.

The most bitter interpretation is that after several decades the impact of the discovery of Auschwitz.

– What lessons can we learn from the Nazi plot to hide the Holocaust?

–What I try to show in this book is that the final solution was a public policy that was implemented with all the means of modern states, which is a form of communication for the administration.

It was a complex process and we have to be very careful with the state now, yesterday and tomorrow because we know that it is capable of finding ways to implement policies that we cannot morally agree with and hiding it from us, so this is a way of telling him people to keep in mind that the state is very important, that these institutions that allow society to live quite simply, could also in certain cases be murderous and genocidal and therefore we need to have this balance in appreciating the role of the state, which is a beneficiary on the one hand but could also be very disastrous.

AGENDA: “More secret?

The 'final solution' of the Jewish question”, with Daniel Rafecas. Friday 31: CC Recoleta, Junín 1930 at 6:00 p.m.

look too

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Source: clarin

All news articles on 2023-03-25

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