By Jean-Claude Damamme
Representative for France of the International Napoleonic Society


Recently, various media reports have referred to a joint Swiss-Canadian-American study that rejects the “now largely discredited” (quotation) theories of Napoleon’s poisoning by arsenic. In this regard, one must ask who discredited these theories?

The publication of this study prompts me to make the following observations: The study makes absolutely no mention of the work of Dr. Pascal Kintz, President of the International Association of Legal Toxicologists, nor those of Prof. Robert Wennig of the University of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, whose analyses demonstrated—beyond question—a massive concentration of rat poison in the core of the Emperor’s hairs. There is only one explanation for this presence: the toxic substance must have entered through the digestive tract.

Does not this omission constitute an insult to the work of these two scientists of international reputation?

This study also ignores the conclusions of Professor Lucien Israël, oncologist and member of the Institute of France, who has already refuted the official theory of stomach cancer.

In addition, the study in question was undertaken at “the suggestion of Dr. Jean-François Lemaire” (quotation), a physician, it is true, but above all a member of the French “Napoleonic Memory” and as such systematically opposed to the explanation presented by Ben Weider.

I see nothing in this new study that might give cause to reopen the question of the poisoning theory.

In fact, given the dispute between these gentlemen and President Weider on the subject of this theory, it would not be surprising that the sudden proliferation of this subject on the internet (11 articles in 24 hours!) will turn out to be a concerted offensive intended to discredit—and I use this term advisedly—the conclusions which the greatest international toxicological experts reached contrary to the opponents of the theory of the Emperor’s poisoning.

I note that, without being a gourmet, Napoleon was also not such a masochist as to consume dishes of rat poison, which as everyone knows is far from being a magic potion to increase longevity.

In conclusion, studies of this type which contradict or ignore the results of the most advanced toxicological analyses—results which are indisputable by anyone of intellectual honesty—can only serve to obscure an incontestable scientific fact and thereby to continue to grossly deceive the general public.

Which was perhaps the intended result.

But by whom and for what reason?

Jean-Claude Damamme
Representative for France of the
International Napoleonic Society