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Guide to the Tamiment Library Collection of Noam Chomsky Correspondence and Other Materials Relating to the Faurisson Case TAM 520

Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
10th Floor
New York, NY 10012
(212) 998-2630

Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives

Collection processed by Jan Hilley

This finding aid was produced using ArchivesSpace on June 13, 2018

Descriptive Summary

Title: Tamiment Library Collection of Noam Chomsky Correspondence and Other Materials Relating to the Faurisson Case
Dates [inclusive]: 1980-1994
Abstract: This collection contains material relating to a controversy surrounding Noam Chomsky's defense of the civil liberties of Professor Robert Faurisson, a French Holocaust revisionist. Articles from the conservative Australian periodical Quadrant and an excerpt from the book  Droit et Histoire, by Pierre Guillaume, address this episode, and are accompanied by copies of correspondence discussing Chomsky's opinions and actions.
Quantity: 0.25 Linear Feet (I box)
Language: Materials are in English with the exception of the excerpt from Droit et Histoire which is in French.
Mixed Materials [Box]: 1
Call Phrase: TAM 520

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Historical/Biographical Note

Avram Noam Chomsky (1928- ) is an American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, author, lecturer and political activist. Beginning with his opposition to the Vietnam War, he established himself as a prominent critic of U.S. foreign and domestic policy. Chomsky has become a profoundly influential voice on the left, lecturing widely and publishing numerous books on foreign policy, Mideast politics and related subjects.

His self-professed commitment to freedom has led him to champion the free speech rights of some rather unpopular groups and individuals, including Robert Faurisson, a French professor and Holocaust denier. Faurisson had been prevented from teaching French Literature at the University of Lyon in the late 1970s on the grounds that he could not be protected from attacks against him as a result of his views about the Holocaust. He was brought before the French courts in 1979 and found guilty of defamation and incitement to racial hatred because he denied the existnce of the gas chambers used by the Nazis to exterminate Jews. Approximately five hundred people, including Noam Chomsky, signed a petition defending Faurisson's freedom of speech and expression. Because this resulted in accusations of supporting, or at least adding credibility to, Faurisson's views, Chomsky subsequently wrote an essay attacking his critics for failing to respect the principle of freedom of speech and stressing the conceptual distinction between endorsing someone's views and defending his right to express them. The essay, "Some Elementary Comments on the Rights of Freedom of Expression," was used, without Chomsky's knowledge, as the preface to a book by Faurisson. This episode led many to label Chomsky as anti-semitic and a Holocaust denier. Chomsky continued to defend his actions and took the position that freedom of speech must be extended to all viewpoints, no matter how unpopular or fallacious.

Robert Faurisson continues to express his views and, as recently as 2006, was given a three-month suspended sentence by a Paris correctional court for denying the Holocaust on an Iranian television channel.

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Scope and Content Note

This collection includes material donated by three professors who corresponded with Noam Chomsky on the Faurisson affair. Copies of articles from the Australian magazine, Quadrant, include "Chomsky and the Neo-Nazis," written by W. D. Rubinstein; Chomsky's response, "Rubinstein on Neo-Nazism"; and a response by Rubinstein. A chapter from the book  Droit et Histoire further describes the Faurisson affair. (There is also a short article by Robert Manne attacking pieces written by Chomsky concerning Pol Pot and the Khmer Rouge).

The remainder of the collection consists of copies of correspondence between Chomsky and each of the three professors -- Werner Cohn, George Glauberman and W. D. Rubinstein.


Folders are arranged alphabetically within one series:

Missing Title

  1. Series I: Noam Chomsky: Materials Relating to the Faurisson Case, 1980-1994.

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Access Points

Subject Names

  • Chomsky, Noam
  • Rubinstein, W. D.
  • Glauberman, George
  • Cohn, Werner

Document Type

  • Articles.
  • Correspondence.

Subject Topics

  • Holocaust, Jewish (1939-1945)

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Administrative Information

Conditions Governing Access

Materials are open without restrictions.

Conditions Governing Use

Tamiment Library and Robert F. Wagner Labor Archive has no information about copyright ownership for this collection and is not authorized to grant permission to publish or reproduce materials from it. Materials in this collection, which were created in 1980-1994, are expected to enter the public domain in 2110.

Preferred Citation

Published citations should take the following form:

Identification of item, date; Collection name; Collection number; box number; folder number;
Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives
Elmer Holmes Bobst Library
70 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012, New York University Libraries.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Materials donated by George Glauberman, Werner Cohn and W. D. Rubinstein in 1994 and 1995. The accession number associated with this collection is 2009.091.

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Container List

Container 1 Container 2   Title Date
Box: 1 Folder : 1 Articles from Quadrant
Box: 1 Folder : 2 Chapter from Droit et Histoire, by Pierre Guillaume
Box: 1 Folder : 3 Correspondence: Cohn, Werner and Noam Chomsky
Box: 1 Folder : 4 Correspondence: Glauberman, George and Noam Chomsky
Box: 1 Folder : 5 Correspondence: Rubinstein, W. D. and Noam Chomsky

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