Michel de Boüard
In 1986, Michel de Boüard, former inmate at Mauthausen, honorary dean of the Faculty of Letters at the University of Caen, member of the Committee for the History of the Second World War, member of the Institut de France, said:In the monograph on Mauthausen that I published in Revue d’Histoire de la [Deuxième] Guerre mondiale in 1954, I mentioned a gas chamber on two occasions. When the time of reflection had arrived, I said to myself: where did you arrive at the conviction that there was a gas chamber in Mauthausen? This cannot have been during my stay in this camp, for neither myself nor anybody else ever suspected that there was one there. This must therefore be a piece of ‘baggage’ that I picked up after the war; this was [an] admitted [fact] but I noticed that in my text - although I have the habit of supporting most of my affirmations by references-there was none referring to the gas chamber . . . (Ouest-France, August 2-3, 1986, p. 6).
In response to The Journalist's question:
You were president of the Calvados (Normandy) Association of Deportees, and you resigned in May, 1985, why?
he said:I found myself torn between my conscience as a historian and the duties it implies, and on the other hand, my membership in a group of comrades whom I deeply love, but who refuse to recognize the necessity of dealing with the deportation [ 1] as a historical fact in accordance with sound historical methods. I am haunted by the thought that in 100 years or even 50 years the historians will question themselves on the particular aspect of the Second World War which is the concentration camp system and what they will find out. The record is rotten to the core. On one hand a considerable amount of fantasies, inaccuracies, obstinately repeated (in particular concerning numbers), heterogeneous mixtures, generalizations and, on the other hand, very close critical studies that demonstrate the inanity of those exaggerations. I fear that those future historians might then say that the deportation, when all is said and done, must have been a myth There lies the danger. That haunts me. (Ibid).