U.S. detains and nearly deports French Holocaust historian


Henry Rousso is one of France’s most preeminent scholars and public intellectuals. Last week, as the historian attempted to enter the United States to attend an academic symposium, he was detained for more than 10 hours — for no clear reason.

On Wednesday, Rousso arrived at Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport after an 11-hour flight from Paris, en route to Texas A&M University in College Station. There, he was to speak Friday afternoon at the Hagler Institute for Advanced Study.

But things did not go according to plan: Rousso — an Egyptian-born French citizen — was “mistakenly detained” by U.S. immigration authorities, according to Richard Golsan, director of the Glasscock Center for Humanities Research at Texas A&M.


Egypt — from which Rousso and his family, as Jews, were exiled in 1956, after a slew of anti-Semitic measures imposed by the administration of President Gamal Abdel Nasser, according to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz — was not among the seven nations in the travel ban, which had been suspended by the time he arrived in the United States.


Rousso’s scholarship focuses on the memory of the Vichy regime, the darkest chapter in modern French history, when the government of unoccupied France collaborated with Nazi Germany in World War II. Vichy authorities are particularly infamous for assisting the Germans in rounding up and deporting tens of thousands of Jews from France during the Holocaust, which Rousso once called “the past that does not pass.”

He spoke Friday on a similar subject in College Station, in a lecture titled “Writing on the Dark Side of the Recent Past.”

Fellow historians took to social media after news of Rousso’s experience, many pointing out what they considered the uncomfortable irony of the arbitrary detention of a Holocaust historian.

Ruth Ben-Ghiat, a historian at New York University, said on Twitter, “His work on cost of forgetting past (Vichy) so relevant.”


Bloody symbolic. These are dark times.


"Nearly" Good grief. And where are the posts on the similar failures of the Obama administration? Shhhh! Methinks a lot of knees are jerking and that the left has conveniently forgotten 9/11 and the terrorist acts which both preceded and succeeded it. WTC 1993? 2009 Major Hasan? Boston Marathon? San Bernadino child care center? And on and on and on.

Do we not have the right - the duty - to protect “the children” from potential terrorists? This involves screening those who enter the US, does it not? Does the left not realize that they do not declare themselves as terrorists when they enter?

This leftist hysteria is incredible.


Regardless of what one thinks about the current president, his campaign stirred up sentiments that have otherwise been overlooked, good and bad. If he wants to distance himself from those extremists who are acting “in his name,” he best speak up now. Loudly. And repeatedly.


So Egyptian Jews are now a major threat to the USA, righto.


I find it nearly impossible to have a coherent discussion here about the travel ban and the implications of it, mostly because it seems the first response is nearly always some version of the above. This is no argument against concern over what this scholar experienced. That one injustice justifies another because of some perceived hypocrisy committed by political opponents doesn’t make logical sense.

For what it’s worth, it sounds as though, by Rousso’s own admission, he was dealing with an inexperienced immigration official who didn’t understand how to properly interpret his visa.

What a terribly sad accusation.

Of course you have a right to protect yourself and everyone from terrorists. Is that what this historian is?


Well, since profiling based on religion is “racist”…:shrug:


More fake news. “French”

He’s an Egyptian “researcher”.

What passport/visa did he possess, something must have been wrong with his paperwork.

Glad to hear we are screening people.

I guess some forget that immigration rules exists.


He is a French citizen and a Jewish researcher into the history of the Shoah, dangerous lads them Egyptian Jews. He might make you eat some falafel or something, who knows.


You know, we (leftists), or at least I, haven’t forgotten 9/11 at all. I watched the towers collapse from a window in a nearby office building. I was locked out of my home for a couple of weeks afterwards (I lived downtown at the time). And I was actually in the WTC for the first (1993) Word Trade Center bombing.

So you can forget that one. “9/11! 9/11!” isn’t a refutation of the claim that maybe, just maybe, we’re going a bit wrong with this travel ban (among other things), and turning into something we really don’t want to be.

I’m not knee-jerking. I’m looking around me, and I don’t like what we’re turning into.


Or wine and pastry…


Except there was nothing wrong with his paperwork. How does that wash with what you’re claiming?


And these events were perpetrated by Jewish scholars? Wow.


Who is claiming there was nothing wrong with his paperwork?

We haven’t heard from ICE.

Could have been an honest mistake or a mistake with his paperwork too. Customs officers still have the right to stop, detain and search any person or item. But officers cannot select you for a personal search based on your race, gender, religious or ethnic background, but they can based on “citizenship”.

There have been discussions about expanding the ban list to include Egypt and I believe there is a also an active travel warning to Americans traveling to Egypt too.


He’s a French citizen with a French passport. From the article:

France is a beneficiary of the U.S. visa waiver program, which permits French citizens to enter the United States without a visa. All that is required is an online ESTA application before departure.

And from The Independent’s article:

When the immigration officer discovered he would be receiving a fee for his keynote address at Texas A&M University, he ordered him to be deported, claiming he should have a working visa rather than a tourist visa.

“I told him I don’t need one, that the university took care of the formalities, as always, and especially, that I have been doing this for more than 30 years without any problem,” Mr Rousso explained in an article for the Huffington Post.


NOT fake news. He’s a French citizen.


No one said he isn’t.

Yes he emigrated to France after his family was expelled from Egypt.


Yes. When he was 2.


It does appear according to the Independent article that there was a misunderstanding and the official thought since he was going to be paid for his participation at a conference he should have had a work visa instead of a tourist visa.


There usually is a logical explanation for these kinds of issues… It’s like people pretend these kinds of visa questions never happened before Trump was elected.


People here seem to be projecting that he was detained because he was a terror subject. Perhaps his visa was off or he got on the wrong list. I recall Sen Ted Kennedy was on the No Fly list at one time.

Not every incident is an alt right hate crime, and ICE shouldn’t overlook issues because some think a person is preeminent in some field of academia.

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