Celine as an Expression of Jewish Power

Basil Benton


Despite his notoriety, Louis-Ferdinand Céline still makes the “top ten” of most lists for greatest French writer of all time, though there have been attempts to discredit and erase his towering presence from world letters. According to Haaretz, “Céline, who died in 1961, is considered the second most widely read author in France after Marcel Proust.”

As recently as 2011, Minister of Culture Frédéric Mitterrand, bowing to Jewish pressure, and the hullabaloo over Céline’s anti-Semitism, declined to commemorate the literary genius despite it being the 50th anniversary of his death. (“Anti-Semitic Author Booted from French Commemoration List” Mika Timor, January 24th, 2011)  This is ironic, considering his novel Journey to the End of the Night was translated into Hebrew in 1994 by Ilana Hammerman! The Céline fiasco is a case study in the power of the Jewish Lobbyto exert its influence with censorship, suppression and manipulation.

Serge Klarsfeld, a “historian” and vice-president of the Foundation for the Memory of the Holocaust, which spearheaded the 2011 boycott, was also instrumental in derailing the publication of his “Polemical Writings” by Gallimard this year.

Gallimard, of course, had originally declined to publish Céline’s novels, until many years after the scandal of his post-war arrest and trial. (“Gallimard: 100 years in publishing,” Stephen Romer, March 25th, 2011) Gallimard then pestered his widow for decades to republish his “Polemical Writings,” until she finally gave in, and went against her late husband’s wishes, which ironically were more respected by the boycotters.

Naturally this controversy is sure to fuel the publication of the “Polemical Writings” through less prestigious channels.

Though the publishing giant had plans to publish these works since last November, they did not reveal their intentions to do so until early this year. The response came swiftly. The timeline from assorted publications makes this abundantly clear.

January 4th, the Times of Israel reports, “French Jews protest reprint of Holocaust-era anti-Semitic essays,” even though they were written in 1937, 1938 and 1941, before the Holocaust.

January 5th, the Guardian reports that Gallimard will publish 1930s pamphlets by Céline, “who called for extermination of Jews.”  Klarsfeld threatened Gallimard with legal action if they did not halt publication. Characterized as a “fierce row” by the Guardian, we discover that:

The prime minister’s delegation in charge of fighting racism, anti-Semitism and anti-LGBT hatred last month made the rare move of summoning the publisher. It urged it to include, in any new edition of three anti-Semitic texts written between 1937 and 1941, notes giving the full context drawn up by specialists, including historians. The editor is understood to have rejected this, claiming that notes by a literary expert on Céline would suffice.

So, there you have it! Klarsfeld and the Jewish-French lobby, with the help of the Prime Minster himself, will appoint a “task force” of specialists to provide the “full context” of these works, as though Gallimard was not up to the task. They will help us “understand” what Céline means!

I’m sure Céline would be rolling in his grave to think the very ilk he warned about were the ones coordinating the republication of these works, so as to provide their proper context! Oy Veh! Mon Dieu!

On January 8th, Edouard Philippe, the French Prime Minister, said:

“Céline’s place as a great writer cannot be ignored, despite opposition from Jewish groups over [the] reprint of [the] Nazi-supporter…There are very good reasons to detest the man himself, but you cannot deny the writer’s central position in French literature.”

I suppose his days as Prime Minister are numbered!

Gallimard responded that “the essays would be edited ‘in a scientific style’ that would expose and explain their anti-Semitic content,” i.e., in a scholarly 1000-page tome, complete with references, footnotes and its important “historical” context.

Not good enough! They want it done their way or not at all! Gallimard folded, with the Guardian running a piece on January 11th, titled, “Publication of French writer Céline’s anti-Semitic texts called off after outcry,” which was echoed by the The New York Review of Books:

“[T]he publisher made a surprise announcement, reversing its previous position and suspending publication of the pamphlets. In a statement, Antoine Gallimard said the correct ‘methodological and memorial conditions’ that would enable Céline’s notorious work to be read ‘dispassionately’ did not exist at present…”

This was followed by a collective hand-wringing from “historians,” in which they discussed the pros and cons of Céline. Their erudite and scholarly conclusion was that, “any footnotes were unlikely to be consulted much and that the exercise risked ‘at best voyeurism, at worst nostalgia, or the sanctification of appeals to murder wrapped up in a chocolate box of prestige.”

François Gibault, who featured in the debate, is the executor of the estate of Louis-Ferdinand Céline, who died in 1961. In addition to being his biographer, Gibault remains the lawyer of Lucette Destouches, the 105-year-old widow of the writer. As stated above Céline’s window was generally opposed to republication, and this would be Gibault’s view too. But when the works were republished in Canada, he did little to fight this. Responding to the controversy, he said:

“I have long been criticized for blocking the reissue and today it is the reverse. These pamphlets have been published in Canada without eliciting the slightest reaction.” [text amended for clarity]

Regarding the republishing, the Conseil Reprsentatif des Institutions Juives de France, the umbrella organization for French Jewry, said the pamphlets were a “gross incitement to racist and anti-Semitic hate.”

Céline fled France immediately after the Allied landing in Normandy, and was imprisoned for six years in Denmark without trial merely because of his opinions. More importantly, like Ezra Pound, who was found “criminally insane” for his opinions and duly interred in Saint Elizabeth’s Hospital in D.C. for a decade, he was never accused of collaboration and after his pardon he never denied the Holocaust.

In 1951 he returned to France after receiving a pardon for treason, but was nevertheless declared a “national disgrace.” This was the worst they could do, I guess, because not only had been wounded in World War I and decorated as a hero, but, apart from his highly polemical writings which in themselves were not treasonous, they had n grounds to prosecute him.

Céline returned a broken man, plagued by bitterness, resentment, fines, and confiscations of property, in addition to the loss of his reputation. Always proud, however, he never expressed regret for his anti-Semitic writings.

Since 1961, the year of Céline’s death, the situation of France has deteriorated precipitously. Jews have emigrated “a la exodus” en masse to Israel, due to a mass influx of Muslim and North African migrants and refugees, and a consequent rise in Anti-Semitism, as many of them are natural enemies of Zionism.

While this may be the result of blowback from colonialism, it is obviously a part of globalist repopulation policies. I guess what they are really worried about is that many of these naturally anti-Semitic immigrants would read and agree with Céline’s assessment and sentiments, and then feel even more at home!

Arutz Sheva, a nationalist Zionist newspaper, writes:

“Islamic extremism is a threat to memory in Europe: in France, in addition to the killing of 12 Jews in ten years, Islamism has pushed 40,000 Jews to leave the country and another 60.000 to move house. It is a quarter of the whole French Jewish community…”

Jewish press and organizations are reporting these developments in their usual shrill tone.

The Service de Protection de la Communauté Juive (SPCJ) in its annual “Report on Antisemitism in France” said:

“One out of four racist acts committed in France in 2016 targeted a Jewish person, while Jews represent less than 1 percent of the population.”

And, let’s not forget the ADL’s recent claim that a full one billion people worldwide “harbor anti-Semitic attitudes.”

According to Breitbart, “Anti-Semitism has been rising in France over recent years as previous reports have shown many Jews deciding to leave the country and move to Israel instead. In 2016 alone some 5,000 French Jews decided to abandon France for Israel driving the total number up to 40,000 since 2006.”

It is interesting to contrast the Céline case with another, not-so-recent scandal involving the late philosopher and Muslim convert Roger Gaurady.

Gaurady, a former deputy of the French Communist Party, a member of the resistance, and German POW, was censured for Holocaust Denial in 1996 under the Goyssot Law upon publication of his Les Mythes fondateurs de la politique israelienne. It seems that whether from the left or the right, you’d better not cross the Jews.

Unlike Gaurady, however, Céline was not a Holocaust Denier, and his work is not curtailed or forbidden by such a law. Also, although often accused of collaborating during the Vichy Regime, the legal fact is that he didn’t.  Both men, however, spoke from their consciences, and served in wars that killed millions of their countrymen.

In short, these cases demonstrate that Jewish groups will use whatever excuse they can to disallow free speech that is critical of Jewry or Zionism.

Who is the greater transgressor here? Both: Gaurady for denying the Shoah, Céline for his apoplectic hyperbole. Going down the list of questionable historical figures, Charles Maurras seems likely to be next to be expunged from the French cultural and literary memory, testifying once again to the disproportionate power of this small minority in its respective host nations.

The mass censorship in France vis-à-vis Jews is simply out of control. The Gayssot Law, introduced in 1990, effectively made Holocaust denial a crime, and was used against ‘revisionists’ such as Bruno Golsch, Roger Gaurady and Robert Faurisson.

A documentary “Chosen and Excluded — The Hate for Jews in Europe” was recently shelved due to the sensitive nature of its subject. Dieudonne, the bombastic comedian, was jailed and fined for his “anti-Semitic” remarks and alleged “holocaust denial.” The list goes on and on.

Meanwhile, across the historically contested German-French border, Monika Schaeffer, Ursula Haverbeck, and Sylvia Stolz sit in jail, for “undermining faith in the German legal system.” Whatever that means!

Céline controverial polemics – “Trifles (Bagatelles) for a Massacre,” “School for Corpses,” and “A Fine Mess” – have been available for some time via unsanctioned printers, both in French and English. For an introduction to two of these works, I defer to François Gardet’s insightful prefaces translated by Greg Johnson for the “unauthorized” Reconquete Editions. Céline’s pamphlet “School for Corpses,” has been translated into English. Here is the text in its entirety with an introduction by the translator, Szandor Kuragin.

In the meantime, ironically, Haaretz published a recent Op-Ed arguing that the pamphlets should be reprinted after all! They can’t make up their minds! Apparently, now that the Jews have set the tone, they would allow the works to be republished on their terms; that is, so that they control their issue, reception and public and critical reception informed by their political and social agenda.  Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.