Simone Gigliotti: Genocide Research A "Growth" Area Of Study

Historians in the News

The Holocaust has always held a fascination for Simone Gigliotti.

While growing up in Australia, she heard stories from her grandparents who fled Mussolini's fascist dictatorship in Italy in the early 1920s.

Studying history at Melbourne University, her interest in humanitarian issues encouraged her to delve into what happened during the Holocaust and why.

Now a history lecturer at Victoria University, Dr Gigliotti researches and teaches about Hitler's Final Solution and its consequences.

In a world where those such as British historian David Irving deny the Holocaust ever happened -- or claim there was never a plan to exterminate Jews -- Dr Gigliotti said her research had left her in no doubt.

"I believe it happened. I believe the Nazis had an intentional strategy to persecute and marginalise Jews by any means possible."

She supports the Government's 2004 decision to deny Irving a visa to speak at the National Press Club.

"I think David Irving has no place in Holocaust history. He is part of a marginal group."

The frequently quoted figure of six million Holocaust deaths was no exaggeration, said Dr Gigliotti.

Many perpetrators are provocateurs who are not necessarily those who pull the trigger. But race and racism are essential ingredients, she said. And with race-based conflicts festering throughout the world, Dr Gigliotti is not confident that genocide can be consigned to the dustbin of history.

"Unfortunately, genocide is a growth area of study."

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