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Michèle Renouf

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Michele Renouf, Lady Renouf
Born Michele Suzanne Mainwaring
Residence London, England
Education Newcastle Technical College, English Gardening School
Occupation Film producer

Michèle Suzanne Renouf, Lady Renouf (née Mainwaring), (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.[1]

She has become known in recent years for her defence of Holocaust deniers such as David Irving, Robert Faurisson, Richard Williamson,[2] Germar Rudolf, Ernst Zündel, and Fredrick Töben in broadcasts and her Telling Films documentaries. Though not a revisionist author or researcher herself she has been frequently characterized by opponents as a Holocaust denier.[3][4][5] Renouf is also known for speeches and articles criticising the rabbinical hermeneutics of Judaism which have attracted considerable controversy.[6].

Early life

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.[7] She was also active as a teenager in charity fundraising, as Miss Radio 2HD Beach Girl.


In 1968 she graduated with a Diploma in Art (Education) after four years training at Newcastle Technical College, and now part of the Hunter Institute. 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 Psychology of Religion at the Heythrop College of the University of London

Marriage to Daniel Ivan-Zadeh

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[8]. Mainwaring adopted his family title of Countess Griaznoff as a social tool to enhance charity fundraising.[6]

During the 1970s and 1980s her charity related endeavours regularly appeared in society publications such as Tatler and the Court Circular,[9] including numerous events under Royal patronage. At this time she was recruited to the Ladies Committee of the European-Atlantic Group (from which she was to resign in 2001). Negative publicity did not arise until her second marriage.

Marriage to Sir Frank Renouf

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.[10] At the time of the wedding, Francis was seventy-two years old and Michèle 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."[11] Their matrimonial home in Eaton Square, Belgravia, was the former home of Neville Chamberlain, a former British Prime Minister in the period May 1937 to May 1940. Sir Francis was the focus of media scrutiny 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). 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. He later described the marriage as a "nasty accident".[6]

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.


Lecturer and educator

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.


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. During this same period she also designed an Elizabethan Knot and Maze Garden for the reconstruction of William Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre.[12]

Model and actress

Renouf is an international model and actress. She has appeared in television commercials worldwide, including advertisements for companies such as BMW, Heinz, British Airways, Supradyn Vitamins, Barclays, Capital One, Tchibo, Lenthéric, Ireland on Sunday, Nescafé, and France Telecom.

She lost her starring role in the stage play Wagner by Rudolf Sabor after her writings, the controversial papers "Wagner and Judaism: Inspirational or Conspiratorial?", and "Moses and Wagner: Two Advertising Legends in Tribal Mystique" from the Heidelberg Conference in 1998, were brought to light.

Film producer

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[13] and House of Lords in 2002.[13] 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.[13] These interviews and other Palestine veterans' testimony are now archived at St. Antony's College, Oxford.[14]

In 2006 she released the documentary "Jailing Opinions", and she is currently working on a new documentary called "Pious Piracy", which questions the existence of Jesus.


Globe Theatre Innenraum

Renouf raised funds which built the Wardrobe of Robes for the restoration of the Globe Theatre

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,[9] including numerous events under Royal patronage. At this time she was recruited to the Ladies Committee of the European-Atlantic Group (from which she was to resign in 2001). Negative publicity did not arise until her second marriage.

Globe Theatre Advisory Board

During her honeymoon in New Zealand in the early 1990s, Renouf had been invited to add stitches to a giant New Zealand wool tapestry curtain which was its national contribution to the Globe Theatre reconstruction project. This led to her joining the Globe's advisory board on her return to London and raising funds for the restoration. Renouf and her "Coterie" sponsored the building of the Globe's Wardrobe of Robes Room.

Civil rights activism

Renouf has become known in recent years for defending the rights of Holocaust deniers to engage in open debate, and a noted civil rights advocate.[15] She explained to The Sunday Telegraph in March 2009, "our concern is not Holocaust denial, but debate denial. People should have the freedom to question the accepted view of what happened. That questioning is part of our culture."[16]

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. 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.[7]

A curiosity about the fear of being labelled anti-semitic prompted her to research and produce a limited edition monograph in 1998 on Judaism and Wagner's 19th century anti-semitism. Her thesis was (and remains) that Jewish behaviour (as criticised by "anti-semites") is not genetic but mimetic.

David Irving

When Renouf read a quotation from writer 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 religious 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."[17] In 2001, she attempted to obtain funding for David Irving from the Saudi Prince Fahd bin Salman, though he died before arrangements could be made.[18]

In the same year, she wrote a letter to the Evening Standard newspaper in London complaining of biased BBC coverage of the Irving-Lipstadt trial, signing it "Lady Renouf, Reform Club, 104 Pall Mall". This led to an ultimately successful attempt to expel her in 2003.[6] Irving had already been banned by the club in 2001 (though he was not in breach of any club rule) after attending a function as Renouf's guest soon after losing his civil libel action.[19]

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 [punishing Holocaust denial]." Interviewed at the court, she called for "so-called Holocaust victims" to be "exhumed to see whether they died from typhoid or gas".[20] In November 2006 though, while Irving was in prison, 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".[21] The previous year, Renouf had shared a platform with Nick Griffin and David Duke in the United States.[22]

Fredrick Töben

In October-November 2008, Renouf recruited lawyers for the Australian Fredrick Töben, of the Adelaide Institute, an organisation dedicated to exposing "the Holocaust myth", after he was arrested at London's Heathrow Airport under a European Arrest Warrant.[23] Renouf and Töben were appointed to the "International Fact Finding Committee on the Holocaust" at the conclusion of the Tehran Conference in December 2006.

Bishop Richard Williamson

Bishop Richard Williamson contacted David Irving,[15] who he had previously met at a garden party in 2008,[24] requesting assistance following an international uproar over his comments disputing the Holocaust, broadcast on Swedish television in 2009.[25] On February 25, 2009 Renouf attended Heathrow Airport in readiness with her legal defence team, at the request of Irving,[15] to assist Williamson with his arrival in London. This was in case he was detained in similar fashion to Töben.[16] Irving and Renouf are cited as having played a role in preventing the arrest of Williamson at Heathrow that day.[15]

Conferences, debates, trials, and associations

Between 2004 and 2006 Renouf spoke at numerous Holocaust revision meetings, Real History Conferences and American Free Press events in Europe, the U.S. and Canada, and attended the trials of Holocaust deniers Ernst Zündel, Germar Rudolf and Robert Faurisson, culminating in her DVD Jailing Opinions in 2006.[26]

In 2004, Renouf attended the The Institute for Historical Review conference in California, delivering a speech to hundreds.[27] She attended the International Conference - Holocaust Review: A Global Vision in Tehran, Iran, in December 2006 (to which all sides of the debate had been made welcome, though orthodox historians declined their invitations).[28] In her address, the "Psychology of Holocaustianity", she described Judaism as possessing a "dangerously misanthropic tendency" and "fundamentally anti-Gentile narcissism." In 2009, Renouf attended a European Parliament-sponsored conference in Brussels, titled "Denial and Democracy in Europe," where she gave an address.[29][30]

During 2007-8 she appeared in televised debates with Rev. Dr. Stephen Sizer, Dr. Norman Finkelstein,[31] former CIA station chief Dr. George Lambrakis,[32] and Likud strategist Dmitry Shimelfarb[33] as well as TV broadcasts with Dr. Christian Lindtner,[34] Dr. Yaqub Zaki, Peter Rushton, Dr. Nicholas Kollerstrom, Moeen Yaseen, Riad Al-Taher, Dr. Mohammad Saeed Bahmanpour and Press TV's Between the Headlines.

Through her civil rights work, Renouf has met and associated with a wide-range of individuals representing many diverse causes. These include an appearance at the David Duke's EURO Conference in New Orleans in 2005, which included guests such as future European Union MP Nick Griffin and Simon Darby from the British National Party, Karl Richter of the Saxon parliament in Germany from the Nationaldemokratische Partei Deutschlands, Swedish politician Vávra Suk, as well as leaders from the National Front in France and South Africa.[35]

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 Prof. Faurisson's 80th birthday.[36] 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. McKinney was attacked by the press for associating with the far-right.[37]

Literature references

Renouf has been mentioned throughout the world in the news, from The Guardian,[38] The Telegraph,[16] The Independent, and The Times[39] in the United Kingdom, the Washington Post[40] and Huffington Post[41] in the United States, and ABC News[42] and Sydney Morning Herald in Australia, as well as numerous other publications. She has been noted in library information and research services, and has been mentioned in books such as "Ahmadinejad on Palestine" by Dina Sulaeman,[43] "Globalising Hatred: The New Antisemitism", published in 2009 by Denis MacShane,[44] "The Holocaust on Trial", published in 2002 by D.D. Guttenplan,[45] "Report on anti-semitism in Argentina, Volume 1999", published in 2003 by the Delegación de Asociaciones Israelitas Argentinas. Centro de Estudios Sociales,[46] and "Ahmadinejad: The Secret History of Iran's Radical Leader", published in 2008 by Kasra Naji.[47]

Personal views

Renouf claims not to be anti-Semitic 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")[48]. She has described Judaism as a "repugnant and hate-filled religion."[6] The European Jewish Congress quoted Renouf as telling the Teheran Conference in 2006: "anti-Semitism is caused by the anti-gentile nature of Judaism".[49]

She advocates adherence to the inseparable four classical virtues which are the basis of Western civilisation and the U.S. constitution.[50]

She now has a website for what she terms "an all round common sense campaign option for the first Jewish homeland" of Birobidjan.[51]



Renouf has claimed her collegiate studies in Australia also involved summer schools at the Sydney campus of the National Art School, but they have no records for her studying there.[7] In Tehran she claimed to have been expelled for her views on Judaism from Heythrop College, though the records indicate she was failed for not submitting any work for assessment.[7]


Renouf claimed her first husband, Daniel Ivan-Zadeh, to have been of Russian nobility. The Australian reports:

"Ivan-Zadeh had always been plain “Mr” or “Doctor” but Renouf says the family had once claimed a title through his great-uncle, so she began styling herself as Countess Griaznoff “for my charity work”. No such title exists in the major lists of European noble families such as the Almanach de Gotha or Burke’s Royal Families of the World."[7]

This media spin ignored the fact that, as Wikipedia's entry on the Almanach de Gotha points out, "most princely families of the Russian Empire were not included in the Gotha at all" and the Gotha is renowned for its "condescending attitude towards Eastern European nobility and royalty". The notorious anomalies of the Almanach de Gotha's position on Russia are discussed by Nicholas Romanov, Prince of Russia.[52]

The Griaznoff family was well known in Russian court circles for several centuries, since the time of Ivan the Terrible. The assassination of General Griaznoff in January 1906 [53] was one of the most celebrated successes of a Russian revolutionary gang which included the young Joseph Stalin. In 1921 it became the subject of the first Soviet Georgian historical film, directed by Ivan Perestiani, "The Murder of General Gryaznov".

During the fallout from her marriage to Sir Francis she had claimed her father was deceased,[17] with the occupation of hotelier,[7] on her marriage certificate.[54] According to The Australian, her father, a "retired courier driver and photographer for the Port Macquarie News said he had never owned a hotel." Renouf believed her long-estranged and terminally ill father was dead at the time of her second marriage, and put hotelier on the certificate because among many other occupations he had been part of the family business, a long established hotel at The Entrance.[7] For many years his main occupation was as an aerial photographer, and while travelling between The Entrance and his studio in Sydney he assisted friends and local businesses, acting as a courier for packages.

Efraim Zuroff (May 2007)

Efraim Zuroff of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre is a critic of Renouf

Involvement in Holocaust Denial Movements

Opponents are concerned about Renouf's role in the Holocaust denial movement. Efraim Zuroff, of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre in Jerusalem told The Australian newspaper: "This woman is especially dangerous, because she is so attractive and can put a pretty face on a very ugly movement."[7] 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.

Security threats

In November 2008, Renouf was scheduled to appear again at David Duke's annual EURO Conference, this time held in Memphis. However, the original conference was cancelled after bomb threats were made and the hotel decided the conference was not in their interest. Renouf would not come for the secondary conference held at another location.[55][56][57]

External links


  1. "Michèle Renouf showreel", VEOH. Retrieved December 1, 2009
  2. Walker, Peter (25 February 2009). "Profile: Richard Williamson". The Guardian. Retrieved 2009-05-11. 
  3. "The men who are creating a new BNP ideology", Nick Knowles, Searchlight Magazine, March 2007
  4. "Lady Michele Renouf: mistress of reinvention" Peter Wilson, The Australian, 14 February 2009
  5. Martin Sullivan "Not so Bright",, 15 September 2008
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 "Bimbo" who rattled the old buffers club. The Age, December 3, 2002.
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 7.7 [,25197,25049019-5010800,00.html "Lady Michele Renouf: mistress of reinvention", The Australian, February 13, 2009.
  8. "Downfall of Holocaust-denying bishop", The Telegraph, February 28, 2009. Retrieved December 1, 2009.
  9. 9.0 9.1 Dining A la Carte (1988, Octopus, London) ISBN 0706430638
  10. Sir Francis Renouf: an autobiography (1997, Steele Roberts, Wellington) ISBN 0958371202
  11. Renouf's new Lady, Nigel Dempster, Daily Mail, January 17, 1991.
  12. Derwent May "A knot that ties a medieval garden with the Globe", The Times, 2 March 1996
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 "The Psychology of Holocaustianity", Holocaust. Retrieved December 1, 2009.
  14. "Eric Lowe Collection"
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 "British Historian David Irving Offers SSPX Bishop Williamson Refuge", Traditio, March 2, 2009. Retrieved November 17, 2009.
  16. 16.0 16.1 16.2 David Harrison "Downfall of Holocaust-denying bishop", The Sunday Telegraph, 1 March 2009
  17. 17.0 17.1 "This beauty's a right one", Sydney Morning Herald, February 24, 2006.
  18. D.D. Guttenplan and Martin Bright "David Irving's secret backers", The Observer, 3 March 2002
  19. "Labour donor David Abrahams banned from taking beauty queen to club - because of her views on Holocaust", The Daily Mail, December 15, 2007.
  20. "Australian causes stir at Irving trial." Sydney Morning Herald, 21 February 2006.
  21. "Lady Renouf is too extreme even for the BNP", Evening Standard, 26 November 2006
  22. David Williams "The apologist for terror and the BBC"/"Britain’s Holocaust deniers", Searchlight, July 2008
  23. Charles Miranda "Beauty queen Lady Michele Renouf backs Holocaust denier",, The Daily Telegraph (Australia), 13 October 2008; "Historian facing extradition", TVNZ, 18 October 2008
  24. "Bishop Williamson Kicked Out Of Argentina", SKY News, February 28, 2009. Retrieved December 1, 2009.
  25. "Pope readmits Holocaust-denying priest to the church", The Independent, January 25, 2009. Retrieved November 17, 2009.
  26. The Victories of Revisionism, Teheran Conference: Holocaust Review - a Global Vision paper by Robert Faurisson
  27. "Holocaust Denial: A Global Survey - 2004", The Wyman Institute. Retrieved November 17, 2009.
  28. "Iranian Holocaust Conference Will Showcase Deniers and Anti-Semites From Around the World; ADL Urges European Leaders to Speak Out." Anti-Defamation League, December 7, 2006.
  29. "European Parliament host Denial and Democracy conference", Arat News and Publishing, September 30, 2009, Fiona Lorin, Roni Alasor. Retrieved November 17, 2009.
  30. "BEHIND ENEMY LINES IN BRUSSELS: A Victory for Revisionist Norms", Telling Films, Lady Michele Renouf, October 6, 2009. Retrieved November 17, 2009.
  31. "Finkelstein-Renouf Debate: Teheran Holocaust Conference", Sahar, January 18, 2007. Retrieved December 1, 2009.
  32. "Debate on French Presidency and New World Order", Sahar, May 19, 2007. Retrieved December 1, 2009.
  33. [1]
  34. "Lindtner & Renouf on Sahar TV: propaganda war against Iran", Sahar, August 19, 2007. Retrieved December 1, 2009.
  35. "David Duke's European American Conference: Racists Gather in New Orleans", Anti-Defamation League, Retrieved September 11, 2008.
  36. "Dieudonné se redonne en spectacle douteux sous l’œil de Faurisson", Liberation, Retrieved September 11, 2009.
  37. "Cynthia McKinney's Anti-Israel Campaign", Anti-Defamation League, Retrieved September 11, 2009.
  38. "Holocaust-denying bishop lands in UK after expulsion from Argentina", The Guardian, February 25, 2009, Matthew Weaver, Mark Tran. Retrieved November 17, 2009.
  39. "Holocaust-denial Bishop Richard Williamson arrives in Britain", February 25, 2009, Chris Smyth. Retrieved November 17, 2009.
  40. "Pope Must Denounce Holocaust Deniers", February 4, 2009, Menachem Z. Rosensaft. Retrieved November 17, 2009.
  41. "Pope Benedict XVI's Noxious Rehabilitation of a Holocaust Denier", February 4, 2009, Menachem Rosensaft. Retrieved November 17, 2009.
  42. "UK 'no safe haven' for Holocaust-denying bishop", February 26, 2009. Retrieved November 17, 2009.
  43. "Ahmadinejad on Palestine", Dina Sulaeman, Retrieved September 11, 2009.
  44. "Globalising Hatred: The New Antisemitism", Denis MacShane, Retrieved September 11, 2009.
  45. "The Holocaust On Trial", D.D. Guttenplan, Retrieved September 11, 2009.
  46. "Report on anti-semitism in Argentina, Volume 1999", Delegación de Asociaciones Israelitas Argentinas. Centro de Estudios Sociales, Retrieved September 11, 2009.
  47. "Ahmadinejad: The Secret History of Iran's Radical Leader", Kasra Naji, Retrieved September 11, 2009.
  48. Barnes Review, January-February 2008
  49. "European Participants in the Tehran Holocaust Denial Conference." European Jewish Congress, December 12, 2006.
  50. Michele Renouf Audio
  52. [ "Chapter 1 Volume IV His Imperial Highness Grand Duke Tsessarevich"], Nikolai Romanov.
  53. "Griaznoff", "New York Times", 31 January 1906
  54. Richard Sproull "Socialite meets the stars of Holocaust denial", The Australian, 18 December 2006
  55. "Radical Terrorists Threaten EURO Conference", Pragmatic Witness, Retrieved September 11, 2009.
  56. "David Duke's EURO Conference meets in Memphis", My Eye Witness News, Retrieved September 11, 2009.
  57. "Less Than A Week", David Duke, Retrieved September 11, 2009.
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