Michèle Renouf
Michèle Renouf
Michèle Suzanne, Lady Renouf, (born 1946) is an Australian-born advertising model, now a British national, and a lifelong international television commercials actress with a thirty year membership of British Actors Equity. She has become known in recent years for her defence of Holocaust deniers such as David Irving, Robert Faurisson, Bishop Richard Williamson, Germar Rudolf, Ernst Zündel, and Fredrick Töben in broadcasts and her Telling Films documentaries.
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    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 2010
    Age 64
    In January 2010, Renouf participated in a conference on the U.N. Security Council at the British House of Lords, which included former British ambassador Oliver Miles.
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  • 2009
    Age 63
    After providing legal support to Bishop Richard Williamson, Renouf explained to The Sunday Telegraph in March 2009, "our concern is not Holocaust denial, but debate denial.
    More Details Hide Details People should have the freedom to question the accepted view of what happened. That questioning is part of our culture."
    In February 2009 she contrasted the media's treatment of "controversial" analyses of Judaism with the widespread coverage given to the film on Islam made by Dutch parliamentarian Geert Wilders.
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    Knowing of the legal precedent achieved after Renouf's mobilisation of the Töben defence team, the Bishop's supporters arranged for Renouf to attend Heathrow Airport on 25 February 2009, in readiness with her legal defence team poised to assist Williamson with his arrival in London in case he was detained.
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    An article in The Telegraph in February 2009 described her as a "one-time actress" and "former model and beauty queen" who since the late 1990s "has attended and spoken at Holocaust 'revisionist' conferences and written papers on the subject".
    More Details Hide Details She is known for her defence of Holocaust deniers such as David Irving, Robert Faurisson, Bishop Richard Williamson, Germar Rudolf, Ernst Zündel, and Fredrick Töben in broadcasts and her Telling Films documentaries. She is frequently characterized as a Holocaust denier. Renouf has also described Judaism as a "repugnant and hateful religion."
    She has been noted in library information and research services, and has been mentioned in books such as Ahmadinejad on Palestine by Dina Y. Sulaeman, "Globalising Hatred: The New Antisemitism", published in 2009 by Denis MacShane, "The Holocaust on Trial", published in 2002 by D. D. Guttenplan, "Report on anti-semitism in Argentina, Volume 1999", published in 2003 by the Delegación de Asociaciones Israelitas Argentinas.
    More Details Hide Details Centro de Estudios Sociales, and "Ahmadinejad: The Secret History of Iran's Radical Leader", published in 2008 by Kasra Naji. Primarily such references are in relation to her views on holocaust denial and related subjects. Renouf claims not to be antisemitic on the grounds that she does not regard Judaism as genetic and criticises Christian Zionism in equivalent terms ("you don't have to be Jewish to be Jew-ish"). She has described Judaism as a "repugnant and hate-filled religion." The European Jewish Congress quoted Renouf as telling the Tehran International Conference to Review the Global Vision of the Holocaust in 2006: "anti-Semitism is caused by the anti-gentile nature of Judaism". She advocates adherence to the inseparable four classical virtues, which she believes to be the basis of Western civilisation and the U.S. constitution. She now has a website for what she terms "an all round common sense campaign option for the first Jewish homeland" of Birobidjan.
    In March 2009 she met former U.S. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney in London at the "Forum on Gaza Genocide: Solution for Palestine," where the two were photographed together.
    More Details Hide Details McKinney was attacked by the press for associating with the far-right.
    In January 2009 she was photographed in Paris visiting the nightclub act of Dieudonné M'bala M'bala with Robert Faurisson and his family and friends on the occasion of Faurisson's 80th birthday.
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    In 2009, Renouf attended a European Parliament-sponsored conference in Brussels, titled "Denial and Democracy in Europe," where she gave an address.
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  • 2007
    Age 61
    She was also pictured on the British People's Party's website addressing their 2007 St George's Day event in Hove, having previously also spoken at a meeting in Leeds for the party.
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    During 2007-8 she appeared in televised debates with Stephen Sizer, Norman Finkelstein, former CIA station chief George Lambrakis, and Likud strategist Dmitry Shimelfarb as well as TV broadcasts with Dr. Christian Lindtner, Yaqub Zaki, Peter Rushton, Nicholas Kollerstrom, Moeen Yaseen, Riad Al-Taher, Mohammad Saeed Bahmanpour and Press TV's Between the Headlines.
    More Details Hide Details Renouf appeared at David Duke's EURO Conference in New Orleans in 2005, which included guests such as Nick Griffin and Simon Darby from the British National Party, Karl Richter from the Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands, Swedish politician Vávra Suk, as well as leaders from the National Front in France and South Africa.
  • 2006
    Age 60
    She attended the International Conference - Holocaust Review: A Global Vision in Tehran, Iran, in December 2006, which was described by the Anti-Defamation League as a "Holocaust denial conference".
    More Details Hide Details In her address, the "Psychology of Holocaustianity", she described Judaism as possessing a "dangerously misanthropic tendency" and "fundamentally anti-Gentile narcissism."
    Renouf and Töben were appointed to the "International Fact Finding Committee on the Holocaust" at the conclusion of the International Conference to Review the Global Vision of the Holocaust in Tehran in December 2006.
    More Details Hide Details Within weeks of the Töben defence team's success, a new legal threat was posed to the British Bishop Richard Williamson following the broadcast by Swedish television of his comments disputing details of the Holocaust.
    In November 2006 though, while Irving was in prison, the leadership of the far-right British National Party, prevented her from addressing its Croydon branch on Irving's situation as "her presence would put the BNP in a bad light".
    More Details Hide Details The previous year, Renouf had shared a platform with Nick Griffin and David Duke in the United States. In October–November 2008, Renouf recruited lawyers for the Australian Fredrick Töben, of the Adelaide Institute, an organisation dedicated to challenging "the Holocaust myth", after he was arrested at London's Heathrow Airport under a European Arrest Warrant.
  • FIFTIES
  • 2005
    Age 59
    After his arrest in Austria in 2005, Renouf organised financial support for David Irving's family, maintained his website and traveled with friends to Vienna to support Irving during his trial for denying the Holocaust, saying "I am here to see a freed Irving and a freed Austria from this totalitarian law Holocaust denial."
    More Details Hide Details Interviewed at the court, she called for "so-called Holocaust victims" to be "exhumed to see whether they died from typhoid or gas".
  • 2003
    Age 57
    In May 2003 Renouf's critics succeeded in expelling her from the Club, after a critical article in the Independent on Sunday by Johann Hari - who at the time was taken as a reliable source, though he was discredited in 2011 after numerous allegations of plagiarism and faked interviews.
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  • 2002
    Age 56
    This led to an unsuccessful effort to expel her from the Reform Club in September 2002, when she was defended by fellow Club member Bob Worcester.
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  • 2001
    Age 55
    Irving had already been banned by the club in 2001 (though he was allegedly not in breach of any club rule) after attending a function as Renouf's guest soon after losing his civil libel action.
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  • 1998
    Age 52
    A curiosity about the fear of being labelled antisemitic prompted her to research and produce a limited edition monograph in 1998 on Judaism and Wagner's 19th century antisemitism.
    More Details Hide Details Her thesis was (and remains) that Jewish behaviour (as criticised by "antisemites") is not genetic but mimetic. When Renouf read a quotation from Holocaust denier David Irving in a newspaper article on Irving's libel case against the historian Deborah Lipstadt, she first became interested in the use of the term Holocaust in relation to World War II history, having had no special interest in or knowledge of the period previously. She attended the two-month-long hearing and expressed interest in Irving's ideas and the reaction to them. "I found on Irving's side of the courtroom a solitary person representing himself, backed up by enormous forensic research and tremendously capable debate based on substance and fact... On the other side of the courtroom I saw 21-25 people with laptops connected it seems to the Israeli government." In 2001, she attempted to obtain funding for David Irving from the Saudi Prince Fahd bin Salman, though the Prince died before arrangements could be made.
  • 1997
    Age 51
    She has said her interest began when a Jewish member of a committee which she had convened objected to suckling pig being an option on the menu at a dinner she was organising in 1997 for the Globe restoration.
    More Details Hide Details The Australian traced the woman, a "retired American art gallery owner named Wylma Wayne", who denied Renouf's recollections and insisted that her objections had not been related to kosher issues.
  • FORTIES
  • 1991
    Age 45
    Renouf designed a hillside-sized maze garden for family friend Prince Fahd bin Salman in the form of a horse's head, as a tribute to the Saudi Prince's 1991 Derby winning horse Generous.
    More Details Hide Details During this same period she also designed an Elizabethan Knot and Maze Garden for the reconstruction of William Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. In 2001 she archived on film a series of interviews with British veterans of the 1945-48 conflict in Palestine. Surprised by the absence of mainstream media interest in their eyewitness testimony, she made her first documentary film Palestine Scrapbook which was screened at the House of Commons in 2001 and House of Lords in 2002. A sequel Israel in Flagrante, featuring the anti-Zionist, haredi rabbis of the Neturei Karta, was shown at the Cairo Anti-war Conference in 2004. These interviews and other Palestine veterans' testimony are now archived at St. Antony's College, Oxford. In 2006 she released the documentary "Jailing Opinions", and she is currently working on a new documentary called "Pious Piracy", which documents the thesis of philologist and Sanskrit scholar Dr Christian Lindtner that the Lotus Sutra is the blueprint for the Christian gospels.
    According to The Age, the marriage dissolved after a few months following articles which portrayed Lady Renouf as from humble origins in Australia (incorrectly suggesting that she had claimed noble origins herself, rather than as a courtesy title on account of her husband's heredity): "Their union collapsed in 1991 after only a few months, when Sir Frank reportedly discovered the then Countess Griaznoff was a truckie's daughter from The Entrance, on the NSW central coast and not a Russian noblewoman.
    More Details Hide Details He later described the marriage as a "nasty accident". Sir Francis and Lady Renouf parted company shortly after the media ridicule surrounding their marriage, which formally ended in divorce five years later, despite his attempts at reconciliation. He suffered a heart attack and stroke soon after the divorce was finalised. Renouf spent time as a lecturer in Fine Arts at Queensland University of Technology shortly after graduating in 1968. She culminated twenty years ballet training by commencing a licentiateship in ballet teaching and choreography at the Royal Academy of Dance in Knightsbridge in 1970.
  • 1990
    Age 44
    Her first marriage ended in a 1990 divorce, and in 1991 she married New Zealander Sir Francis Renouf, a merchant banker and former POW in a German camp, who had worked alongside Hermann Abs of the Deutsche Bank to reconstruct Germany's postwar banking system.
    More Details Hide Details At the time of the wedding, Sir Francis was seventy-two years old and his wife forty-four years of age. Asked by the press about his reaction to marrying a Countess, Sir Francis told society columnist Nigel Dempster: "... obviously it's a Russian title, but she's called Lady Renouf now so it doesn't matter." Their matrimonial home in Eaton Square, Belgravia, was the former home of Neville Chamberlain, the British Prime Minister from May 1937 to May 1940. Sir Francis was the focus of media interest after losing a substantial part of his fortune and investors' money in the 1987 stockmarket crash and undergoing a dramatic divorce from his second wife in Sydney. The new Lady Renouf found herself the subject of their reporting, as there was already a considerable tabloid media circus surrounding Sir Francis's second wife. They interviewed her long estranged and terminally ill father Arthur Mainwaring, who was a Korean War reconnaissance aerial photographer and continued this role for the local Port Macquarie News. Arthur Mainwaring, whose parents owned a hotel by the ocean at The Entrance, had also been a part-time courier driver to aid local businesses when travelling between his coastal home and his city studio 100 miles away (allowing the press to have further fun at Sir Francis's expense by portraying his new wife as the daughter of a truck driver).
  • TWENTIES
  • 1970
    Age 24
    Her first marriage in January 1970 was to Daniel Ivan-Zadeh, a consultant psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, and descendant of Russian nobility whose family had fled from the collapsing Russian Empire during the Bolshevik October Revolution in 1917, changing their surname on arrival in Persia.
    More Details Hide Details Mainwaring adopted his family title of Countess Griaznoff and consequently her status as a charity fundraiser was enhanced. During the 1970s and 1980s her charity related endeavours (which included aiding Russian refugees) regularly appeared in society publications such as Tatler and the Court Circular, including numerous events under Royal patronage. At this time she was recruited to the Ladies Committee of the European-Atlantic Group (after more than twenty years service she was ousted in 2000 after the Group's founder, former intelligence officer Elma Dangerfield, objected to Renouf inviting David Irving as her guest to an E-AG dinner). Negative publicity did not arise until her second marriage.
  • 1968
    Age 22
    In 1968 she graduated with a Diploma in Art (Education) after four years training at what became Newcastle Technical College, then affiliated to the National Art School and now part of the Hunter Institute.
    More Details Hide Details During 1991-92, Renouf gained a diploma in Landscape Design at the English Gardening School. From 1999 to 2001, she studied for a post-graduate degree in the Psychology of Religion at the Heythrop College, University of London.
    Born Michèle Mainwaring, in childhood she became a ballet dancer and Member of the Royal Academy of Dancing; and a model, appearing in magazine advertisements and international television commercials. In her teens she became a beauty queen, winning several titles including Miss Newcastle & Hunter Valley 1968.
    More Details Hide Details She was also active from childhood in charity fundraising, including with Radio 2HD, and latterly as Miss Radio 2HD Beach Girl.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1946
    Age 0
    Born in 1946.
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