Italy university closes campus to block French professor who denies Nazi gas chambers

Associated Press/May 18, 2007

Rome -- An Italian university closed one of its campuses for the day Friday to prevent a planned lecture by a retired French professor who denies gas chambers were used in Nazi concentration camps.

Robert Faurisson, who has been convicted five times in France for denying crimes against humanity, is expected to speak at a local hotel instead.

The University of Teramo cited security fears in announcing the closure of its law, political sciences and communications departments. “(There is) a climate of tension which could put in danger the safety of the students,” the university said in a statement.

The Nazi-hunting Simon Wiesenthal Center had urged the university to cancel the event.

“To welcome Faurisson is an embarrassment to Italian academia, offends the families of Italian martyrs who fell in fighting the scourge of fascism … and encourages a perverse propaganda to incite a new generation to anti-Semitism and racist doctrine,” the center said in a statement.

Faurisson has caused outrage in France, arguing for a decade against claims that Nazi Germany systematically destroyed the Jews. He maintains that no gas chambers were used in Nazi concentration camps during World War II.

He had been invited to give a lecture at the university by Claudio Moffa, a professor of Asian and African history and director of a master’s program in Middle East studies.

The university’s dean had issued an official warning to Moffa to cancel the invitation.

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