How setting the record straight changed the life of historian Deborah Lipstadt

Professor, historian and author Deborah Lipstadt says her life changed dramatically and unexpectedly when she was asked to write about Holocaust survivors.

The history professor called David Irving, a prolific writer of books on World War II, “one of the most dangerous spokespersons for Holocaust denial" in her acclaimed 1993 book "Denying the Holocaust".

After her book was published, Irving filed a libel suit against Lipstadt and her publisher and her life has never been the same.

Lipstadt wrote a follow up book "Denial" (previously published as History on Trial), which was adapted into a historical drama film and released in 2016.

"Denial" is a blow-by-blow account of the dramatic six-year trial, which resulted in Irving being formally denounced.

Lipstadt maintains that Holocaust denial is irrational, nonfactual, antisemitic, and racist.

She reflected on Irving's denialism, her court victory, books and the pursuit for the historical truth which changed her personal and professional life.

I had a wonderful legal team as depicted in the movie.

Professor Deborah Lipstadt, historian and author

We followed his footnotes back to the sources... we'd go back to the source and we showed the courts of where he had twisted the events and distorted the facts.

Professor Deborah Lipstadt, historian and author

We weren't looking for little 'gotchas', we were looking for major, deliberate kinds of alterations - and we repeatedly found them.

Professor Deborah Lipstadt, historian and author

We have to challenge the people, who say outrageous things and claims, to show us the facts.

Professor Deborah Lipstadt, historian and author

We have to say: where is your evidence? Where is your truth? .. Make them show you the proof.

Professor Deborah Lipstadt, historian and author

Lipstadt has encouraged citizens to be active and question dubious claims, whether they are made by politicians, strangers, colleagues or loved ones.

She also spoke about propaganda, the age of fake news and US President Donald Trump.

Take a listen:


This article first appeared on CapeTalk : How setting the record straight changed the life of historian Deborah Lipstadt


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