ONE of the world’s most notorious Holocaust deniers has been arrested in a quiet Scots fishing village, two years after fleeing France following a conviction under strict anti-Nazi laws.

Vincent Reynouard was apprehended at an address in the Anstruther area of Fife on Thursday, November 10, on a Trade and Co-operation Agreement warrant issued in France, police confirmed to The Herald.

Reports in France suggest he had been working as a private tutor while living under a false identity. 

His arrest comes after a two-year search for his whereabouts led by France’s Central Office for the Fight against Crimes against Humanity and Hate Crimes (OCLCH), which began after the memorial of Oradour-sur-Glane, where Nazi troops killed and destroyed an entire village in June of 1944, was vandalised by graffiti which read "Reynouard is right". 

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The 53-year-old has multiple convictions in his native France spanning decades for comments he has made denying the existence of the Holocaust and distortion of the Oradour-sur-Glane massacre.

The denial of Nazi atrocities has been a crime in France since 1990, when The Gayssot Act, proposed by French communist politician Jean-Claude Gayssot, was enacted to combat revisionist views denying the existence of gas chambers and other Nazi crimes. The act makes it a crime to “contest” or dispute certain “crimes against humanity”, as defined by the Nuremberg Charter.

Although more than 25 European countries including France have laws that address the phenomenon of Holocaust denial, there is no specific law outlawing it in the UK.

General Jean-Philippe Reiland, head of the OCLCH, told news agency AFP that despite there being no Holocaust denial law in the UK, the French inter-ministerial service was able to “convice the British” to go after Reynouard thanks to a judgment of the Caen Court of Appeal in 2015. 

Reynouard’s convictions date back as far as 1991, when he was sentenced for distributing leaflets denying the existence of the gas chambers among high school students. 

In 1997, aged 27, Reynouard was dismissed from his position as a maths teacher at a secondary school in the Normandy town of Honfleur by the French Education Minister after the discovery of revisionist texts on the hard disk of the computer he used at the school. He was also found giving his students statistical equations regarding the rate of mortality in Nazi concentration camps. 

HeraldScotland: Vincent Reynouard was apprehended at an address in the Anstruther areaVincent Reynouard was apprehended at an address in the Anstruther area (Image: Getty)

A decade later, Reynouard was sentenced to one year’s imprisonment and fined €10,000 by a court in Saverne for writing a 16-page brochure entitled "Holocaust? Here’s what’s kept hidden from you…” and sending it to tourism offices, museums and town halls across France in 2005. 

In 2015, he was sentenced to two years in jail by a court in Normandy for denying the Holocaust in a series of Facebook posts, with his most recent conviction coming in November of 2020 for posting a Holocaust denial video on YouTube. 

That year, an analysis of the French far right, newspaper Liberation identified Reynouard as a key member of a network of propagandists ‘dedicated to the denial and distortion of the Holocaust’. 

The author and vlogger is also reported to have ties to Catholic fundamentalist groups that deny the Holocaust, such as Society of St. Pius X.

While celebrating the news of Reynouard’s arrest, British volunteer charity Campaign Against Antisemitism said it was “intolerable” that he had evaded justice in France only to settle in the UK. 

A spokesperson for Campaign Against Antisemitism said: “Vincent Reynouard is a despicable Holocaust denier who has repeatedly been convicted by French courts. For him to have evaded justice, only to settle in the UK as a private tutor teaching children, is intolerable, which is why we worked with French Jewish organisations to secure his extradition so that he faces the consequences of his abhorrent incitement. 

“We are pleased that, after months of investigations and, along with Lord Austin, correspondence with police and the criminal justice authorities, he has now finally been caught. We will continue to do everything within our power to ensure that he is extradited and serves his sentence in France.”

Reynouard was due to appear at Edinburgh Sheriff Court on Thursday, November 10, with French media reporting that the 53-year-old was imprisoned ahead of a possible extradition to France. 

A Police Scotland spokesperson told The Herald: “On Thursday, 10 November, 2022, a 53-year-old man was arrested by Police Scotland officers on behalf of the French Authorities.

“He was arrested at an address in the Anstruther area of Fife on a Trade and Co-operation Agreement warrant issued in France."