Deborah Lipstadt: On History and Truth

Historians in the News

From the website of Brandeis University (March 3, 2005):

The campus may look different, but the fond memories and comfortable feelings associated with Brandeis never change for Deborah Lipstadt, who returned to her alma mater on March 2 to participate in a leadership conference and speak about her new book.

"I always love coming back," said Lipstadt, who earned a master's degree at Brandeis in 1972 and a Ph.D. four years later. "But this is different to come back to this kind of welcome and this response."

Lipstadt participated in Truth at Stake, a conference on the protection of historical truth, but the events at the Shapiro Campus Center centered on Lipstadt's book about her libel trial against a Holocaust denier. Before the conference, she spoke about her book as part of the Office of Communications' Meet the Author series.

"History on Trial: My Day in Court with David Irving" recounts the hardships of being sued for libel by David Irving, a man Lipstadt named the most dangerous of Holocaust deniers in an earlier book.

Irving was dangerous not only because he was a revisionist historian, but also because he was broadly read and even praised by the mainstream media, according to Lipstadt.

Lipstadt's triumph in the London courtroom changed people's opinion of him. Irving is now infamous for being a Holocaust denier, a discredited historian, and a liar.

"I have not dealt a death blow to Holocaust deniers - it doesn't go away," said Lipstadt, the Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish and Holocaust Studies at Emory University and the director of the school's Institute for Jewish Studies. "You don't win the battle, but you keep fighting the war."

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