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We propose a construction of new wavelet-like bases that are well suited for the reconstruction and processing of optically generated Fresnel holograms recorded on CCD-arrays. The starting point is a wavelet basis of L2 to which we apply a unitary Fresnel transform. The transformed basis functions are shift-invariant on a level-by-level basis but their multiresolution properties are governed by the special form that the dilation operator takes in the Fresnel domain. We derive a Heisenberg-like uncertainty relation that relates the localization of Fresnelets with that of their associated wavelet basis. According to this criterion, the optimal functions for digital hologram processing turn out to be Gabor (1948) functions, bringing together two separate aspects of the holography inventor's work. We give the explicit expression of orthogonal and semi-orthogonal Fresnelet bases corresponding to polynomial spline wavelets. This special choice of Fresnelets is motivated by their near-optimal localization properties and their approximation characteristics. We then present an efficient multiresolution Fresnel transform algorithm, the Fresnelet transform. This algorithm allows for the reconstruction (backpropagation) of complex scalar waves at several user-defined, wavelength-independent resolutions. Furthermore, when reconstructing numerical holograms, the subband decomposition of the Fresnelet transform naturally separates the image to reconstruct from the unwanted zero-order and twin image terms. This greatly facilitates their suppression. We show results of experiments carried out on both synthetic (simulated) data sets as well as on digitally acquired holograms.