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Denying the Holocaust Deborah Lipstadt discusses how misinformation and false claims are used to question the reality of the Nazis’ attempt to exterminate Europe’s Jews. Part of the BBC History website.
Responses to Revisionist Arguments Part of the Museum of Tolerance Multimedia Learning Center, operated by the Simon Wiesenthal Center.
Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory by Deborah Lipstadt
A forceful analysis of attempts to deny the Nazi Holocaust. Lipstadt […] traces the history of Holocaust revisionism and contends that it can no longer be ignored, showing how Holocaust-deniers, once dismissed as a lunatic fringe, have been growing in numbers and influence during the past 20 years. Citing groups like the Institute for Historical Review, publications like The Spotlight, politicians like David Duke, and academicians like Leonard Jeffries, Lipstadt presents numerous examples of attempts to prove that the extermination of six million Jews is a hoax; that only a few thousand Jews died in the camps from disease; that the Allied bombings of German cities were worse than any Nazi offense; and that the “true victims” of WW II were the German people. These distortions of recorded history, argues the author, threaten to undermine our Western rationalist tradition and to legitimize the politicization of history.
To Lipstadt, the common thread among Holocaust deniers is a “purely anti-Semitic diatribe” portraying Jews as victimizers. Self-declared scholars like Arthur R. Butz (whose credentials are in electronics) claim that Jews used the world’s sympathy after the war to “displace” another people, establish the nation of Israel, and “steal” billions in reparations from their German and Western “cash cows.”
Lipstadt argues vehemently against giving revisionists a forum in the name of free speech or freedom of the press, and she details the efforts of California revisionist Bradley Smith, who pushed a “Holocaust was a hoax” campaign in college newspapers throughout the US. Lipstadt contends that “the responses to Holocaust denial by both students and faculty graphically demonstrate the susceptibility of an educated and privileged segment to the kind of reasoning that creates a hospitable climate for the rewriting of history.” An important, well-documented study that deserves attention.
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First published (or major update) on Monday, February 20, 2006.
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