Emory scholar’s battle with Holocaust denier on big screen with ‘Denial’


A new movie, “Denial,” which opens Friday in Atlanta is based on the true story of Deborah Lipstadt, a prominent scholar and writer, and Emory University professor who was sued for libel in Britain in 1996 by Holocaust denier David Irving for calling him a liar.

Lipstadt had called Irving a liar and said he distorted evidence in her 1993 book, “Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory.” In a brief passage, she described Irving, a prolific, self-taught World War II historian, as “one of the most dangerous spokesmen in the service of Holocaust denial.” Lipstadt based her conclusion, in part, on Irving’s writings that Hitler did not plan The Final Solution and that there were no gas chambers at Auschwitz.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nwv60qIwmZs

The movie, starring Rachel Weisz, opens Friday at Tara Theatre in Atlanta. With superb acting and great attention to detail (all of the trial testimony in the movie comes from court transcripts), “Denial” is a fascinating historical drama.

After Lipstadt’s book was published in England, Lipstadt was shocked to find out that Irving was suing her for libel. She was further distressed to learn that in reverse of what happens in American courts, British law placed the burden on Lipstadt to prove she was right to call Irving a liar rather than requiring Irving to prove she had defamed him.

Lipstadt felt she had no choice but to fight back.

“You can’t fight every battle, but if you have to fight some,” she said in a recent interview.

Lipstadt found herself in the position of not only defending herself, but establishing beyond a doubt that the Holocaust

took place.

Bert Roughton, senior managing editor at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution was based in London for the newspaper as a correspodent in 2000, and covered the trial. In a recent column, he wrote about meeting up with Lipstadt at an elegant London hotel that had become her home during the weeks of the trial.

On that bright April morning in 2000, she glowed in the way people do when they find themselves on the world stage in a warm and favorable light. During her three months in the spotlight, the professor from Emory University had emerged as a champion for truth and justice in the eyes of Americans and Europeans who followed the trial.

More: read more of the column here

 

About the mass exterminations at Auschwitz, Irving once said,“It’s baloney, it’s legend…I say quite tastelessly, in fact, that more women died in the back seat of Edward Kennedy’s car at Chappaquiddick than ever died in a gas chamber in Auschwitz.”

To prove Irving was a fraud, Lipstadt’s legal team summoned a team of historians who presented reams of Nazi records, photographs and other documents – some of which hadn’t been public before – to prove that he Holocaust consumed between 5 million and 6 million innocent lives.

On Wednesday, Lipstadt, wearing a turquoise scarf and still sporting short red hair as depicted in the movie, said in an interview, “This movie is about the fight for truth, but if it has a takeaway, I would say it is there are not two sides to every issue. Certain things are facts not to be debated. Slavery happened. The earth is round. The ice caps are melting. Elvis is not alive.”

She said she hopes the movie also demonstrates the difference between facts, opinions and lies.

“If you take a lie and say it very strongly and say lots of us believe the earth is flat. Doesn’t make it true. It’s still a lie.”

MORE: The Survivor (Part 1)


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Living

Salmonella outbreak linked to raw chicken sickens 92 people nationwide, CDC says
Salmonella outbreak linked to raw chicken sickens 92 people nationwide, CDC says

Salmonella linked to raw chicken has made dozens of people sick across the country, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Wednesday.  In total, 92 people from 29 states have been sickened in the outbreak.  The CDC said 21 people have been hospitalized, but no one has died.  The people who became sick reported...
Things to do in and around Atlanta for Thursday, Oct. 18
Things to do in and around Atlanta for Thursday, Oct. 18

Another cool, dry day is upon us, with temperatures in the low 70s. Celebrate the arrival of autumn (finally) by getting out of the house, for some music, some theater, and a lesson in making your own glass pumpkin. You will be astonished at these 10 and 11-year-old musicians, who really play their instruments onstage, in this delightful theatrical...
Marietta author chronicles history of witches in TV and film 
Marietta author chronicles history of witches in TV and film 

Ever since Marietta author Heather Greene was a child, she was charmed by “The Wizard of Oz,” fascinated by the yin and yang of Glenda the Good Witch and the Wicked Witch of the West. Decades later, she has taken her fascination with witches and turned it into a book exploring the role of witches in American TV and film over the past 120-plus...
‘Golden Girls’- inspired cereal flying off store shelves, already hard to find
‘Golden Girls’- inspired cereal flying off store shelves, already hard to find

The Emmy Award-winning “Golden Girls” sitcom, featuring the adventures of four feisty older women, ran for seven seasons starting in the mid-1980s. More than 30 years later, the show is still airing on cable TV and its still-growing fan base spans the generations. >> Read more trending news  Maybe that’s part of the reason...
Colossal East Lake neoclassical abode was designed by Fox Theatre’s architect
Colossal East Lake neoclassical abode was designed by Fox Theatre’s architect

Angela Fusaro often hunts for trinkets with a story, but she supersized that mindset when she and her husband purchased a nearly 8,000-square-foot Atlanta home on the National Registry of Historic Places. The two-story brick, columned home in the East Lake neighborhood was built in the early 1900s by architect P. Thornton Marye, who later designed...
More Stories