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Published on 4 January 2018

#France - French jews protest reprint of Antisemitic essays from Holocaust era

The plans to publish the essays were made known in November but formally announced only in recent days.

Published on January 4th in The Jerusalem Post

France’s best-known hunter of Nazis, Serge Klarsfeld, and the country’s main umbrella of Jewish groups protested a publisher’s plan to print antisemitic essays by the author Louis-Ferdinand Destouches, also known as Celine.

Klarsfeld, a historian and vice president of the Foundation for the Memory of the Holocaust, told Le Parisien that it would be “unbearable” to find at a French library the essays by the celebrated novelist, which he published under the pseudonym Louis-Ferdinand Celine between 1937 and 1941, the paper reported last week.

And CRIF, the umbrella group, said in a statement that it opposes the plan by Editions Gallimard to publish later this year the three “racist, antisemitic and pro-Hitler” essays titled “A bagatelle for a massacre,” “The school of corpses” and “Beautiful sheets.”

The plans to publish the essays were made known in November but formally announced only in recent days. A spokesman for Editions Gallimard, one of France’s most prominent publishing houses, told L’Express the essays would be edited “in a scientific style” that would expose and explain their antisemitic content.

Celine, a physician and open supporter of Adolf Hitler’s Nazi Germany, published “Journey to the End of the Night” in 1932 about his experiences fighting in World War I. Celebrated as a timeless masterpiece about the horrors of war, it influenced Joseph Heller, author of Catch-22, and earned Celine accolades from the American poet Charles Bukowski, who himself was accused of harboring pro-Nazi sympathies. Bukowski wrote in “Notes of a Dirty Old Man” that Céline was the greatest writer of the past 2,000 years.

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