Rachel Weisz Denial
Cast: Rachel Weisz, Tom Wilkinson, Timothy Spall
Director: Mick Jackson
Genre: Biography, Drama
Running Time: 110 minutes
Synopsis: An American professor finds herself the defendant in a high-profile British libel trial that would impact the way the history of the Holocaust is told in Denial, a taut courtroom drama based on one of the most significant international legal cases in recent memory.
After historian Deborah Lipstadt's (Rachel Weisz) book Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory is published in the UK, she is shocked to learn that British author David Irving (Timothy Spall), a prolific writer of texts on World War II, is suing her for libel. Even more surprising to the American academic, under UK libel laws she is presumed guilty unless she can prove herself innocent. Lipstadt finds herself in the position of not only defending herself, but establishing beyond a doubt that the Holocaust took place.
Passionate, fiery and independent, Lipstadt refuses to settle the case and demands her day in court. With the cards solidly stacked against her, Lipstadt's British legal team, led by solicitor Anthony Julius (Andrew Scott) and barrister Richard Rampton (Tom Wilkinson), presents her with a confounding strategy: neither she nor any Holocaust survivors will be called to the stand.
A powerful story about one woman's relentless efforts to establish justice and remind the world about the tragedies of the Holocaust, Denial is a gripping, inspirational real-life account based on Lipstadt's book Denial: Holocaust History on Trial (previously published as History on Trial: My Day in Court with a Holocaust Denier).
Release Date: April 13th, 2017
About The Production
Denial producers Gary Foster and Russ Krasnoff first became aware of Deborah Lipstadt and her work some eight years ago. 'Our kids, who are the same age, were applying to colleges," Russ Krasnoff recalls. 'I was researching Emory University in Atlanta, where Deborah is Professor of Modern Jewish and Holocaust Studies. The university had just announced a $1 million grant to translate portions of her Emory-based website, HDOT: Holocaust Denial on Trial (www.hdot.org), which archives all materials from her trial into Farsi, Arabic, Russian and Turkish. 'I thought it was amazing that a university would do this and I wanted to know more about her."
This inspired Russ Krasnoff to get a copy of Deborah Lipstadt's book, Denial: Holocaust History on Trial (previously published as History on Trial: My Day in Court with a Holocaust Denier), an account of the libel case brought against her by David Irving. Irving's lawsuit against Deborah Lipstadt and her publisher, Penguin Books, asserted that the professor had committed libel against him. Deborah Lipstadt's book was a first-hand account of the trial. 'In addition to being an important topic, it was wonderful storytelling," he continues. 'Gary Foster and I thought it would make a great movie."
Some preliminary research revealed that Holocaust denial was much more widespread than the producers had realised. It was espoused by several prominent voices in the US and Europe, as well as throughout the Middle East – most notably by then-president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. 'It was all opinion turned into fact," Gary Foster says. 'You can have a conviction, a passion, a belief – but that doesn't make it a fact. That was a big part of our decision to make the film and to stay with it for the eight years it took to get it to the screen."
In 2008, while Gary Foster and Russ Krasnoff were making the film The Soloist in Los Angeles, Participant Media's Jeff Skoll and Jonathan King visited the set during shooting on the city's Skid Row. When Jeff Skoll and Jonathan King learned about the producers' idea for a movie chronicling the Deborah Lipstadt trial, they jumped at the chance to be a part of it. 'They bought the project on the spot," Gary Foster recalls. 'Participant's mission is to create entertainment that inspires and compels social change. This story fit perfectly, but it took some time to find just the right team to put it together."
By 2012, Gary Foster and Russ Krasnoff were developing another film, My Old Lady, in partnership with BBC Films. Christine Langan, former head of BBC Films, suggested Gary Foster and Russ Krasnoff speak with acclaimed playwright and Academy Award nominated screenwriter David Hare about adapting the book into a feature film. Christine Langan had worked with Hare on a trilogy of television films about MI5 and believed he would be the ideal writer for this story.
'Stories like this one aren't the specialty of mainstream American cinema anymore," says David Hare. 'Spotlight was an exception, but it's an unusual beast among American films. They were convinced such a factual political drama needed the BBC's sensibility."
Hare, who received an Oscar nomination for his adaptation of Bernhard Schlink's The Reader, which revolves around a Nazi war-crimes trial, says he didn't immediately recognise the historical significance of Deborah Lipstadt's case. 'I didn't feel the weight of that until one day late on, when I had to write some dialogue spoken at Auschwitz. For the first time, I felt I had a special responsibility to the subject."
It was the idea of defending objective historical truth that initially intrigued Hare enough to agree to tackle the project. 'That meant I had to be historically accurate myself, so that enemies of the film, the people who agree with David Irving, couldn't accuse me of distorting the record." To do so, Hare sifted through pages and pages of official records to document the courtroom scenes. 'It took me four or five hours to read a single day in court," he says. 'So you can imagine my initial reaction: Have I really got to read 40 days of trial? I couldn't fake drama in the courtroom that didn't happen."
In fact, there was no need to fabricate dramatic moments. All of the dialogue from the courtroom scenes was taken verbatim from the official record. Hare also points to a real-life moment depicted early in the film in which Irving unexpectedly appears at a lecture given by Deborah Lipstadt in Atlanta and disrupts her speech. 'He started waving $1,000 above his head and saying, -I'll give it to anyone who can prove Hitler ordered the killing of the Jews!' That became a wonderfully dramatic opening to a film. The real mystery for me is why Deborah Lipstadt was chosen by David Irving in the first place. Why did he pick on her?"
While he believes that decision reveals a great deal about David Irving, David Hare says he wasn't interested in writing 'a portrait of an anti-Semite. The film is not about Irving's psychology. He is seen almost exclusively from Deborah's point of view, so I have no right to speculate or try to explain Irving. He simply behaves in the extraordinary manner he did throughout the trial and I offer no explanation. I'm not qualified to go into his psychology. There's no -behind-the-scenes' with him. There's only information that is on the public record."
British-born filmmaker Mick Jackson was chosen to direct Denial on the strength of an extensive résumé that includes major box-office hits (The Bodyguard), an Emmy winning TV movie (Temple Grandin), and a string of highly regarded documentaries and dramas for the BBC and Britain's Channel 4. 'I started out in documentaries," says Jackson. 'I have a feeling for what's real and I like shooting in that style. I try to shoot as much hand-held as I can and keep things very fluid. Deborah's book was perfect for me. I loved her attention to the smallest details, like who sat where in the courtroom or the colour of Richard Rampton's tie."
The director was also drawn to the timeliness of the film's subject matter. 'We live in an age of unreason and lies, an age of violent outrages and all kinds of assaults on the truth," says Mick Jackson, who adds that he had a more personal reason for taking on the project. 'When I was a very young director at the BBC, I worked on a landmark series of documentaries called The Ascent of Man. We shot an episode at Auschwitz. Just being there touched me in a profound way. When this script came my way, I thought, -I have to do that.'"
According to the director, the film's title has a double meaning. 'To win this case, which is about Holocaust denial, Deborah will have to deny herself the glory of standing up in court and speaking to this monster," he says. 'That act of self-denial is her only hope of beating Irving's charges."
Mick Jackson compares the film to a piece of music with repeated themes that stand on their own, but are also woven together in counterpoint. One thread is the progress of the trial and the anticipation of its outcome. Another is the human story of Lipstadt and her legal team. 'We see through Deborah Lipstadt's eyes, with all her media savvy, that there are two trials here: the one in the courtroom and the one in the court of public opinion."
Deborah Lipstadt was closely involved with the making of the film from the time her book was first optioned, providing the filmmakers with access to her life and insights into her experience. 'I spent two days with Rachel Weisz and we talked afterwards on the phone," she recalls. 'I'd never met David Hare, but I knew his work. I'd seen The Reader and The Hours. David spent two or three days in Atlanta, meeting me, shadowing me, coming to my classes, even walking around my home. Then he shared some of the script and I offered comments." When the crucial courtroom scenes were filmed in London, Deborah Lipstadt visited the set, looking on as her own past unfolded on a soundstage. It was a vivid reminder of how isolated she felt when she arrived in London for the trial. Her A-list legal team had devised a defense strategy that shocked her – she would not testify in court, nor would they call Holocaust survivors to testify.
'We were, as they say, divided by a common language," she says. 'Lawyers talk in shorthand. I felt like a deer in headlights, not because of Irving, but because of the situation. I was in a foreign country, in a foreign arena."
Deborah Lipstadt was unfamiliar with Britain's two-tiered legal system and the strict division of labour between barristers and solicitors. Solicitors, like Anthony Julius, formulate strategy, undertake negotiations and draft legal documents. While barristers, like Richard Rampton, provide specialised legal advice and represent individuals and organisations in court.
In addition, Deborah Lipstadt was shocked to learn, the burden of proof in a British libel case lies with the defendant. The basic American legal tenet of 'innocent until proven guilty" is reversed. The historian agrees with Hare's description of her as 'a fish out of water" during the preparation and the trial. 'It's not how I think of myself," she says. 'But it's not untrue. For the sake of a dramatic arc, David emphasised my relationship with the lawyers. I had to learn to trust those lawyers, keep quiet and have faith in the process."
Although she initially doubted her legal team's strategy, she soon learned they had her best interests at heart. 'Anthony offered to do this pro bono because Irving needed to be fought. He was willing to fight as if it were the biggest commercial case to ever come across his desk. He'd already represented Princess Diana against the House of Windsor in her divorce and settled that. Now he talks about this as one of his most important cases."
The trial took place almost 20 years ago, so reliving it on a film set had a surreal quality for Lipstadt. 'Some moments approximate the truth almost exactly. I also worked closely with Rachel, who is unbelievable – such a professional! I'm blown away by her. But still there's something disorienting about it all. She's even wearing some of my clothes – including scarves that belong to me. The costume department looked at some pictures of me from that time, and I told them I still had some of those clothes. Rachel looks different than me, but I do love that they tried to approximate the hair to a certain extent."
Deborah Lipstadt calls the trial 'a defining moment" in her life. 'It didn't change me or what I had to say. It changed how people listen to me. It gave me a hearing I hadn't had before. Suddenly what I had to say had more clout, more gravitas because I'd successfully faced down David Irving."
At the time, she was advised by many not to fight the charges. 'I was told by some academics that I was wasting my time," Deborah Lipstadt recalls. 'Some of the leaders of the British Jewish community felt that whatever happened, he'd win. But if I hadn't fought, then I would have surely lost. It would have become illegal to call the world's leading Holocaust denier what he is. That would have been a terrible thing that legitimised all Holocaust deniers. In the end, all those people who had said I shouldn't have fought came around."
In Hare's opinion, Lipstadt behaved with extreme fortitude throughout the lengthy ordeal. 'When somebody sues you for libel, it's a long business," the writer says. 'From start to finish, it took seven years. I'm sure she experienced many dark nights of the soul. But not a word of hers was proved to be inaccurate. And never during that time did she say anything inappropriate or out of order. She behaved with complete integrity."
Lipstadt faced a particularly insidious adversary in David Irving, says Hare, because he gave anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial a respectable face. 'Irving dressed like an English gentleman. He lived in Mayfair. John Keegan, an extremely distinguished military historian, said that David Irving was a first-rate historian who happened to take Hitler's point of view and that there was as significant historical value in looking at history from the side of the loser."
In retrospect, Deborah Lipstadt says, the point of the trial was not to crush David Irving, but to expose a destructive lie that he and others like him were perpetrating. 'This trial has importance over and above and beyond itself. In an age of relativism, kids grow up thinking, -it must be true, I saw it on the Internet.' But not everything can be true. There are not two sides to every issue. My students often believe everybody has a right to their opinion, but facts are facts. Historians can debate how the Holocaust took place, but the fact is, the Holocaust happened."
Assembling The Cast
Deborah Lipstadt – brash, loquacious and aggressively intellectual – is played by British-born actress Rachel Weisz. The opportunity to play someone like Deborah on film was irresistible to Rachel Weisz, who is known for taking on a wide range of challenging roles. 'It's a very meaty, interesting part," she says. 'Deborah's a wonderful character. We spent time together in New York before filming started. Her books are full of wonderful information, but it was also important to get a feel for who she is. She's very colourful. She is who she is and she didn't come to London to adapt to the culture. I found her very outspoken and strong-willed and direct, as well as a lot of fun to spend time with."
Lipstadt answered any and all questions Rachel Weisz posed, which the actress found hugely helpful. 'She's quite brilliant and very instructive," says Rachel Weisz. 'Not only is Deborah a teacher, she's a marvellous raconteur, so it's not hard for her to tell stories about herself. I didn't know anything about Holocaust denial. But I was interested in knowing how she can teach such an emotional subject. How does she remain unemotional while teaching about something that's difficult to stomach? Because she is a historian, she is able to keep herself at a remove."
Rachel Weisz, who can next be seen in the upcoming off Broadway revival of 'Plenty," also written by David Hare, says Lipstadt provided her with insight into the culture shock she experienced when she arrived in London for the trial. 'Deborah was very intimidated at first by the Brits, all those Oxbridge people on her legal team," the actress explains, using a British phrase that combines the names of England's elite universities Oxford and Cambridge.
Director Mick Jackson was impressed by Rachel Weisz's ability to capture Lipstadt's essence onscreen. 'She's a wonderful actress. She likes being in the moment. She's spirited like Deborah, as well as sharp, impulsive and empathetic. Rachel Weisz likes to immerse herself in a scene without too many preconceptions, so everything strikes her afresh. Hers is a very raw, accessible performance."
Timothy Spall, fresh from his award-winning portrayal of the great British artist J.M.W. Turner in Mr. Turner, portrays Lipstadt's courtroom rival David Irving. Spall knew the task of portraying such an abrasive, unattractive character as David Irving would be tough.
'Obviously Irving is the antagonist in this story," he says. 'In my career, I have often played people who are on the outside and I don't mind that. However wrong-headed the characters I play may seem, I feel it's my job to understand the person, even if they seem to fly in the face of accepted wisdom."
'He believes things that are very upsetting for many people, not just Jews or the relatives of people lost in the Holocaust," the actor continues. 'It has the possibility of being quite offensive. My job was not to play what other people felt about him or the received wisdom about somebody with contentious views. My objective was to understand where he was coming from, not to judge him."
Spall was approached for the role last year, while he was shooting a film in which he played another divisive figure – Ian Paisley, a controversial political firebrand and Protestant activist in Northern Ireland. 'I think of the last 12 months as my -year of the bogeyman,'" he says. 'My approach was the same in both cases."
In the courtroom scenes, in which Irving has elected to represent himself, Spall sat apart from the actors portraying Lipstadt's legal team, who had made it a policy not to make eye contact with Irving. 'Over that week and a half, I did start to feel a bit lonely," Spall confides. 'It wasn't that the other actors wouldn't talk to me between scenes. I started to shut myself away. I wouldn't chat with anyone. I'd sit on my own in a room that had the windows blacked out. I'd be all alone in that court and I felt isolated. Somehow it seemed right. David Irving fought that case alone."
His colleagues on the production praised Spall's courage in portraying Irving with such empathy. 'It's a brave actor who's willing to go there," notes Foster. 'Tim plays Irving so convincingly you almost feel sorry for the character. Only a great actor could do that."
Academy Award nominee Tom Wilkinson plays Lipstadt's quietly fierce, Scottish-born barrister Richard Rampton. The preeminent libel lawyer of the era, Rampton's penchant for extensive trial preparation was legendary. Irving had been fascinated by Hitler and the Third Reich since childhood, but Rampton had just one year to become knowledgeable enough to effectively challenge his assertions. He even mastered German during that time in order to read source documents in their original form.
Wilkinson was intrigued by Denial's unusual story and its avoidance of what he calls the clichés of genre filmmaking. 'The central story is about a fish out of water," he says. 'There are huge differences between the cultures, not only British vs. American, but also Jewish culture. Deborah Lipstadt was under tremendous pressure from survivors of the Holocaust who wanted the world to hear them speak. She also wanted to have her say in court. Yet her rather cool British lawyers were saying, -No, you can't. Once you get in there, you'll get pulled to pieces.'"
'And that's essentially the core," he continues. 'He's a Holocaust denier, for heaven's sake. If that guy's ever going to win a suit, then what does it say for any sort of justice? The emphasis in the movie will be on the sense of isolation that she feels in the context of this rather bizarre court case."
Jackson says one of the most enjoyable moments of the film for him was introducing Wilkinson to Richard Rampton. The two men seemed well matched to him. 'Tom was initially reluctant to meet the real person, because he has an idea in his head of how he wanted to play him," the director remembers. 'But he did and afterward he said, -Decent chap, you know.' When I asked Rampton what he thought of Tom in the role, he said, -Very good. Almost as good as the original.'"
One of Britain's fastest-rising screen stars, both on television (Sherlock) and the big screen (Spectre), Andrew Scott was cast as Anthony Julius, the mastermind of Deborah Lipstadt's defense strategy. Julius' keen intelligence may be his defining characteristic, says the actor. 'He is the ringmaster in this circus. David Hare created a character who is unsentimental about how he can best serve Deborah and serve justice. A lot of the drama and conflict between the two comes from the question of whether to put Holocaust survivors on the stand. Anthony feels strongly that it would legitimise Irving's work. The fact that he is Jewish himself is important, but his job is to think not with his heart but with his head."
The battle Deborah Lipstadt fought is an important one that will likely never truly end, says Scott. 'In this day and age information spreads like wildfire, before facts can be checked.
We can't afford to become complacent about freedom of speech. The truth is the truth, and while you should be allowed to question that truth, we must fight to protect it as well."
Denial was shot primarily in London, where the libel trial took place. There, the production was able to film in the Royal Courts of Justice where the libel case was tried and at the Athenaeum Hotel on Piccadilly, where Lipstadt stayed during the trial. In addition, some key scenes were shot in Poland at the former German Nazi concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau, where more than one million people, mostly Jews, were murdered.
'The historians at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum were tremendously helpful in terms of factual accuracy. To get it right is a huge responsibility," says Foster. 'We went to great lengths to be precise with the script, so having the opportunity to shoot at Auschwitz-Birkenau was really important."
Only documentary filming was done inside the perimeter fences of the former camp, Foster notes. No scenes with actors were shot inside the perimeter fences out of respect for the historical preservation of the camp. Instead, the production created sections of the ruins off-site at a former Royal Air Force base near High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire, United Kingdom.
Shooting the scenes of the former concentration camp was an emotional experience for everyone involved, says Jackson. 'We built the dressing room where the victims took off their clothes, thinking they were going for a shower, and then were sent into the gas chamber," he adds. 'It was very moving."
Production designer Andrew McAlpine was responsible for 46 separate set-ups, but the re-creation of Auschwitz provided the most difficult – and the most important. 'People still have memories of this trial," he says. 'It was only 15 years ago. You have to honour both the members of the public who were following the trial and the victims of the Holocaust. That is what the trial was all about. The challenge was to make sure that Auschwitz, which is sacred ground, is represented in a way that convinces anybody who has been there. We had to recreate it authentically and honour the memory of all those people."
One of the movie's recurring motifs is the 1902 bronze statue of warrior queen Boadicea in her combat chariot on London's Embankment, which Lipstadt regularly jogs past in the film. Known for her audacity in battle, the legendary Celtic heroine stood up against the more powerful Roman invaders, inspiring tens of thousands to follow her and almost driving their superior forces out of Britain. Boadicea comes to represent the courage Lipstadt needs to keep moving forward in the trial.
Director Jackson, once a painter, says he took his visual inspiration from Enlightenment artists including Johannes Vermeer, who believed that light represented truth, as well as the film Ida, directed by Pawel Pawlikowski, which won the 2015 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. 'I thought that a movie about truth should have a luminous quality to it," he says. 'Our director of photography, Haris Zambarloukos, and I decided to light as if it were natural light hitting the faces of the characters."
Lipstadt believes the film provides an opportunity for her to take her life's work another step forward. 'I'd like people to understand that the Holocaust is the best documented genocide in the world. There is no denying it. You can debate aspects of it – why it happened, how it happened, but not the fact that it happened. It is incontrovertible fact. It can't be debated. And that's not being closed-minded, it's acknowledging the truth."
According to Jackson, the trial has made a lasting difference in the world. 'If Deborah Lipstadt had lost, it would have had a chilling effect on every other similar case," he says. 'All kinds of things that were controversial would have been very difficult to litigate, because people would have been afraid of losing. As Richard Rampton said after the verdict, it won't bring any of them back. But now, no reasonable historian can ever doubt that the Holocaust took place."
Facts About The Trial
The case was filed in the English High Court as David Irving v Penguin Books and Deborah Lipstadt.
The suit was brought on September 5, 1996.
In his suit, Irving contended that passages of Lipstadt's book, Denying the Holocaust, accused him of being a Nazi apologist and a Hitler admirer who perverted facts and manipulated evidence to support his claims that the Holocaust did not take place. He also felt that the book attacked his motivations and competence and was part of a concerted effort to ruin his reputation as an historian.
The trial began on January 11, 2000. It lasted 32 days in court. The judgment was presented on April 11, 2000.
In Britain, solicitors formulate strategy, undertake negotiations, and draft legal documents, while barristers provide specialised legal advice and represent individuals and organisations in court.
In the British legal system, in cases of libel, the claimant need only show defamation. The burden of proof rests with the defendant (in this case, Penguin Books and Lipstadt).
It was up to Lipstadt's legal team, led by Solicitor Anthony Julius and Barrister Richard Rampton QC, to prove her statements were 'substantially true" – that the Holocaust occurred, that Irving was a Holocaust denier and Hitler apologist, and that he had deliberately manipulated facts to support his own ideological views.
David Irving chose to represent himself in the trial.
As strategy, Julius and Rampton determined that neither Lipstadt nor any Holocaust survivors would take the stand. They felt to put the survivors on the stand would legitimise Irving's claims and they would be exposed to humiliation. In addition, they feared the survivors would not recall exact details, which would put the case at risk, as exemplified in the Zündel (1985, 1988) and Exodus (Dering v. Uris, 1964) trials.
In cross-examination with Irving, Rampton refused to look Irving in the eye.
Additional team members included Heather Rogers (Rampton's Junior Counsel), and James Libson and Laura Tyler (on Anthony Julius' team).
Penguin Books also hired libel experts Kevin Bays and Mark Bateman of media law firm Davenport Lyons.
Evidence used by the defense included notes from a man identified as 'Tauber." The notes described the Sonderkommando in Crematorium Number 2 and how Zyklon B crystals were placed in the columns through the roof, as illustrated in aerial photos of the camp taken by Allied planes in 1944. Irving countered there were no holes in the roof, claiming that the holes were drawn in. He contended that Auschwitz was designed as a work camp at which many people died but was not a place where people were purposely murdered. His statement prompted the infamous 'No Holes, No Holocaust" headlines.
The defence called five witnesses:
Richard J. Evans, Regius Professor of History at the University of Cambridge.
Robert Jan van Pelt, Professor of Cultural History University of Waterloo's architectural faculty.
Christopher Browning, Frank Porter Graham Professor of History, University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill).
Peter Longerich, Director of the Research Centre for the Holocaust and Twentieth-Century History at Royal Holloway College, University of London.
Hajo Funke, Political Science Professor at Free University of Berlin.
Irving called upon three witnesses:
Kevin MacDonald, Professor of Psychology, California State University Long Beach.
Sir John Keegan, former professor at Royal Military Academy and defense editor of Daily Telegraph (subpoenaed by Irving).
David Cameron Watt, Professor of International History, London School of Economics (subpoenaed by Irving).
The trial was heard by Justice Charles Gray, who produced a written judgment of 333 pages in favour of the defendants, in which he detailed Irving's systematic distortion of the historical record of World War II.
After the trial, Richard Rampton brought Lipstadt a 1995 bottle of Pommard Les Epenots to celebrate.
Irving appealed the decision to the Civil Division of the Court of Appeal, but his application was denied on July 20, 2001. He declared bankruptcy in 2002.
Dr. Deborah E. Lipstadt is Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish and Holocaust Studies at Emory University in Atlanta. Her fifth book, Holocaust: An American Understanding, has just been published by Rutgers's University Press. Her previous book, The Eichmann Trial, published by Schocken/Nextbook Series in commemoration of the 50th anniversary of the Eichmann trial, was called by Publisher's Weekly, 'a penetrating and authoritative dissection of a landmark case and its after effects." In its review of The Eichmann Trial, the New York Times Book Review described Lipstadt as having 'done a great service by… recovering the event as a gripping legal drama, as well as a hinge moment in Israel's history and in the world's delayed awakening to the magnitude of the Holocaust." The Wall Street Journal described the book as 'a thoughtfully researched and clearly written account of the courtroom proceedings and of the debates spurred by the trial."
Her book History on Trial: My Day in Court with a Holocaust Denier (Ecco/HarperCollins, 2006), which has been reissued as Denial: Holocaust History on Trial (Ecco, 2016), is the story of her libel trial in London against David Irving who sued her for calling him a Holocaust denier and right wing extremist. The Daily Telegraph (London) described David Irving v Penguin Books and Deborah Lipstadt as having 'done for the new century what the Nuremberg tribunals or the Eichmann trial did for earlier generations." The Times (London) described it as 'history has had its day in court and scored a crushing victory." The judge found David Irving to be a Holocaust denier, a falsifier of history, a racist and anti-Semite.
According to the New York Times, the trial 'put an end to the pretense that Mr. Irving is anything but a self-promoting apologist for Hitler." In July 2001, the Court of Appeal resoundingly rejected Irving's appeal of the judgment against him. Denial is based on the libel suit Irving brought against Lipstadt as a result of her comments about him in her book Denying The Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory (Free Press/Macmillan, 1993). It was the first full-length study of those who attempt to deny the Holocaust. She has also published Beyond Belief: The American Press and The Coming of the Holocaust (Free Press, 1986), which surveys what the American press wrote about the persecution of the Jews in the years 1933-1945.
At Emory she directs the website known as HDOT [Holocaust Denial on Trial / www.hdot.org], which contains a complete archive of the proceedings of Irving v. Penguin UK and Deborah Lipstadt. It also provides answers to frequent claims made by deniers. Portions of the site are translated into Arabic, Farsi, Russian and Turkish. The site is frequently accessed in cities throughout Iran. At Emory, Lipstadt has won the Emory Williams Teaching Award. She was selected for the award by alumni as the teacher who had most influenced them.
Lipstadt was an historical consultant to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, and helped design the section of the Museum dedicated to the American Response to the Holocaust. On April 11, 2011, the 50th anniversary of the start of the Eichmann Trial, Dr. Lipstadt gave a public address at the State Department on the impact of the trial.
She has held and currently holds a Presidential appointment to the United States Holocaust Memorial Council (from Presidents Clinton and Obama) and was asked by President George W. Bush to represent the White House at the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. At the US Holocaust Museum, Lipstadt chairs the Committee on Anti-Semitism and State Sponsored Holocaust Denial.
She is currently writing a book, The Anti-Semitic Delusion: Letters to a Student, which will be published in 2017.
Release Date: April 13th, 2017