I enjoyed this movie. “Acclaimed writer and historian Deborah E. Lipstadt must battle for historical truth to prove the Holocaust actually occurred when David Irving, a renowned denier, sues her for libel.”
Deborah Lipstadt is portrayed by a beautiful actress (Rachel Weisz) while David Irving is portrayed by a creepy-looking actor (Timothy Spall). The real life David Irving looks similar to actor Tom Wilkinson who is in the movie but curiously given the role of the barrister attacking Irving.
Rachel Weisz, Deborah Lipstadt
The film makes clear that Lipstadt had unlimited funds and legal help at her disposal while Irving represented himself. Lipstadt’s team poured through Irving’s diaries to find a few passages to discredit him. Who has written an honest diary who would not be embarrassed to have parts of it read aloud in court?
Wikipedia: “Lipstadt hired the British solicitor Anthony Julius to present her case, while Penguin Books hired Kevin Bays and Mark Bateman, libel specialist from media firm Davenport Lyons. They briefed the libel barrister Richard Rampton QC and Penguin also briefed junior barrister Heather Rogers. The defendants (with Penguin’s insurers paying the fee) also retained Professor Richard J. Evans, historian and Professor of Modern History at Cambridge University, as an expert witness. Also working as expert witnesses were the American Holocaust historian Christopher Browning, the German historian Peter Longerich and the Dutch architectural expert Robert Jan van Pelt. The latter wrote a report attesting to the fact that the death camps were designed, built and used for the purpose of mass murder, while Browning testified for the reality of the Holocaust.”
In his book, The Holocaust in American Life, Peter Novick has some sharp observations on Lipstadt’s work:
Deborah Lipstadt is more moderate than others when she describes Allied policy as merely “bordering on complicity” in the Final Solution. What prevented Auschwitz from being bombed, says Lipstadt, was the “deep antipathy” toward “contemptible” Jews held by key figures in Washington and London. David Wyman, perhaps the most cited member of the prosecution team, is at one with Lipstadt in seeing anti-Semitism at the core of the “abandonment.”
The role of memory, and its fraught relationship to fact and truth, is threaded through Lipstadt’s legal battle with Irving, and so through “Denial,” the new film dramatizing that epic British courtroom struggle. The film debuted at the Toronto Film Festival and will open in select cities in the United States on September 30. Starring Rachel Weisz as Lipstadt, it’s based on Lipstadt’s book recounting her ordeal, “History on Trial: My Day in Court With a Holocaust Denier.”
Though in the end victorious, Lipstadt faced a legal saga that was filled with uncertainty and marked by intense loneliness. In the United Kingdom, the burden of proof in a libel case is on the accused, so it was up to Lipstadt and her British legal team to prove that Irving was wrong; that the Holocaust had, indeed, occurred, and that Jews were its intended victims. Lipstadt, then and today still a professor at Emory University, had put everything on the line to defend herself against the claims of a man who was driven by prejudice and anti-Semitism but also knew how to construct a cunning and cynical argument.
“History on Trial” was published in 2005, and it eerily resonates today. The rise of anti-Semitism in Europe and the surge of derogatory Holocaust-related tropes on social media perpetrated by extremists in this country raise a similar quandary: How do you deal with those who deny history, who disregard factual evidence, who seem to care little for the truth? And can this one film — a solid, interesting, at times gripping film, but one not destined for blockbuster status — help counter an ugly narrative?
The contemporary echoes were one reason that Weisz, whose parents fled from the Nazis, wanted the part. “Obviously, the Holocaust being on trial is just a very outlandish notion to me,” the British-born actress said during an interview in a Manhattan hotel. “But the idea that there are objective truths, and there is a difference between opinion and fact — in the current climate of relativism, people just spout opinions as if they are facts! There doesn’t seem to be much respect for the difference of the two things. So I thought it was fascinating to put something on trial and prove it was irrefutably a fact and that someone’s opinion didn’t stand up.”
David Irving is a complicated chap. There’s an excellent five-part British miniseries “Selling Hitler” about the Hitler Diaries. Apparently, Irving lead the way in denouncing the diaries as fraudulent after first calling them genuine.
In 1983, Stern, a weekly German news magazine, purchased for 9 million marks the Hitler Diaries of 61 volumes and published excerpts from them. Irving played the major role in uncovering the Hitler Diaries as a hoax. In October 1982 Irving purchased, from the same source as Stern’s 1983 purchase, 800 pages of documents relating to Hitler, only to discover that many of the documents were forgeries. Irving was amongst the first to identify the diaries as forgeries, and to draw media attention. He went so far as to crash the press conference held by Hugh Trevor-Roper at the Hamburg offices of Stern magazine on 25 April 1983 to denounce the diaries as a forgery and Trevor-Roper for endorsing the diaries as genuine. Irving’s performance at the Stern press conference where he violently harangued Trevor-Roper until ejected by security led him to be featured prominently on the news; the next day, Irving appeared on the Today television show as a featured guest. Irving had concluded that the alleged Hitler diaries were a forgery because they had come from the same dealer in Nazi memorabilia from whom Irving had purchased his collection in 1982. At the press conference in Hamburg, Irving announced, “I know the collection from which these diaries come. It is an old collection, full of forgeries. I have some here”. Irving was proud to have detected and announced the hoax material and of the “trail of chaos” he had created at the Hamburg press conference and the attendant publicity it had brought him, and took pride in his humiliation of Trevor-Roper, whom Irving strongly disliked for his sloppy work (not detecting the hoax) and criticism of Irving’s methods and conclusions. Irving also noted internal inconsistencies in the supposed Hitler diaries, such as a diary entry for 20 July 1944, which would have been unlikely given that Hitler’s right hand had been badly burned by the bomb planted in his headquarters by Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg earlier that day.
A week later on 2 May, Irving asserted that many of the diary documents appear to be genuine; at the same press conference, Irving took the opportunity to promote his translation of the memoirs of Hitler’s physician Dr. Theodor Morell. Robert Harris, in his book Selling Hitler, suggested that an additional reason for Irving’s change of mind over the authenticity of the alleged Hitler diaries was that the fake diaries contain no reference to the Holocaust, thereby buttressing Irving’s claim in Hitler’s War that Hitler had no knowledge of it. Subsequently Irving conformed when the diaries were declared as a forgery by consensus. At a press conference held to withdraw his endorsement of the diaries, Irving proudly claimed that he was the first to call them a forgery, to which a reporter replied that he was also the last to call them genuine.
Jack the Jew* emails:
David Irving is a different case. He was a respected amateur historian and popular author about military matters. He is educated guy and a really talented writer. Because he speaks and reads German fluently, he has used original source material for his works. He is more responsible than anyone, other than Kurt Vonnegut, for publicizing British firebomb raid on Dresden (for fans of Pynchon’s Gravity’s Rainbow, it plays a significant part in that book as well). What happened with Irving is that in all of his original research, he was unable to come up with anything linking Hitler with direct orders to exterminate the Jews. He also minimized the number of Jews who were deliberately killed. (The numbers, even from established historians of the Holocaust, are all over the map. Arno Mayer, who wrote, Why did the Heavens not darken, in that book said that more Jews died of disease and other causes than were put to death in gas chambers in Auschwitz.)
Deborah Lipstadt wrote a book in which she called Irving a Holocaust Denier, lumping him with people who were explicit Holocaust deniers. Irving sued her in England for libel and lost. In the process Irving’s historical research was shredded by Richard Evans, another British historian of WWII and the Nazis, because Evans said that Irving had deliberately shaped his books and opinions by ignoring some facts and stressing others to reach a desired result.
This result of the trial pretty much ruined Irving’s reputation among serious historians. However, there are a number of points that really have to be made in Irving’s defense: Irving foolishly represented himself at trial whereas Libstadt’s team consisted of the best barristers in England paid millions of pounds by wealthy Jews including Spielberg. Evans was paid hundreds of thousands of pounds to testify as an expert witness, and in subsequent events, has been criticized by neutral sources as someone who has made serious errors in his own works. Irving made all of his source materials available to the defense and Lipstadt refused to turn over much of what she had that she based her claim in the book on.
Irving is probably the English speaking historian who knows the most about the Nazi leadership having read and translated Goebbels diaries, written a book on Goebels and on Himmler as well as on other aspects. Irving has also changed his views on the extent of the Holocaust. He still doesn’t think it can be attributed to Hitler, but does think that others in the leadership were involved, and he now concedes that there were extermination camps and that at least hundreds of thousands of Jews were killed.
Christopher Hitchens strongly supported Irving’s right to his opinions and his books. The question is always one of whether histories should be refuted by calling its author a racist or an anti-Semite or refuted with facts. Irving was not some crank pounding out tracts. He may have had an agenda as Evans testified, but if that is the case, identify the agenda as Evans did and show how Irving distorted the facts. However, that may be true for some of the parts of Irving’s works, its certainly not true for most of them.
Jews usually ask “how” instead of “why” about Holocaust deniers. We ask, how can they deny the Holocaust? The important question is why do they deny the Holocaust.
In my view, they deny the Holocaust to deny the narrative that Jews were 100% innocent (rather than comprising a group that has interests that clash with the interests of other groups) and to signal to each other that they want to commit another genocide against Jews.
Hating Jews is not socially acceptable in the West today so those who hate Jews usually speak in code.
Holocaust denial is the act of and theory behind denying the genocide of Jews in the Holocaust during World War II. The key claims of Holocaust denial are that the German Nazi government had no Final Solution policy or intention of exterminating Jews, Nazi authorities did not use extermination camps and gas chambers to mass murder Jews, and the actual number of Jews killed was significantly (typically an order of magnitude) lower than the historically accepted figure of 5 to 6 million.
Holocaust deniers generally do not accept the term denial as an appropriate description of their activities, and use the term revisionism instead. Scholars use the term “denial” to differentiate Holocaust deniers from historical revisionists, who use established historical methodologies. The methodologies of Holocaust deniers are criticized as based on a predetermined conclusion that ignores extensive historical evidence to the contrary.
Most Holocaust denial claims imply, or openly state, that the Holocaust is a hoax arising out of a deliberate Jewish conspiracy to advance the interest of Jews at the expense of other peoples. For this reason, Holocaust denial is generally considered to be an antisemitic conspiracy theory, and it frequently encounters criticism.
Greg Johnson runs Counter-Currents publishing and he is a leading white nationalist thinker, tending towards the hardcore end of the spectrum (as opposed to the softcore types like the neo-confederates, who don’t tend to hate Jews).
Johnson does not deny the existence of the Holocaust but he denies it as a tool for destroying white pride. He wrote:
White Nationalists need to deal with the holocaust just as we need to deal with the Jewish Question in general.
It is futile to focus on white advocacy alone and ignore the Jews, simply because the Jews will not return the favor. You might not pick Jews as the enemy, but they will pick you. You might wish to see Jews as whites, but Jews see themselves as a distinct people. Thus they see any nationalism but their own as a threat.
It is futile for White Nationalists to ignore the holocaust, for the holocaust is one of the principal tools by which Jews seek to stigmatize white ethnic pride and self-assertion. As soon as a white person expresses the barest inkling of nationalism or racial consciousness, he will be asked “What about the holocaust? You’re not defending genocide, are you?”
The holocaust is specifically a weapon of moral intimidation. It is routinely put forward as the worst thing that has ever happened, the world’s supreme evil. Anybody who would defend it, or anything connected to it, is therefore evil by association. The holocaust is evoked to cast uppity whites into the world’s deepest moral pit, from which they will have to extricate themselves before they can say another word. And that word had better be an apology. To borrow a turn of phrase from Jonathan Bowden, the holocaust is a moral “cloud” over the heads of whites.
Jews have used the horror of the Holocaust to stigmatize any negative assessment of Jews as a group. Stephen Steinlight wrote in 2001: “For perhaps another generation, an optimistic forecast, the Jewish community is thus in a position where it will be able to divide and conquer and enter into selective coalitions that support our agendas.”
“That America has largely tolerated this dual loyalty — we get a free pass, I suspect, largely over Christian guilt about the Holocaust — makes it no less a reality.”
Life is filled with harsh brutal choices. America’s white nationalists are no longer in preserve mode as more non-white children are born in the U.S. every day than white kids. They’re looking to create a whites-only country.
Right now, the future of America is grim. If the collapse happens slowly, Jews may be able to make deals with the future owners of the country. If things collapse suddenly, there may well be genocides.
“How can they hate us?” is not the best question for Jews to ask right now. A better one is, “Why do they hate us?” And it’s not because we’re all so wonderful. Jewish leftists have worked to diminish traditional ties to race, religion and nation to try to make the world safer for Jews by denying that Jews constitute an alien tribe. These Jews who are largely cut off from the restrictions of Orthodox Judaism (though often still maintaining a strong Jewish identity) have tried to make the world similarly unmoored through things like multiculturalism, Boasian anthropology, Freudianism, MTV, Hollywood, etc. This is creating a whirlwind for all Jews, just like when in Weimar Germany, radical Jews excelled at poking fun of all things traditionally German. As things currently stand, we American Jews are setting ourselves up for decimation for the way we’ve weakened the goyim, made fun of their traditional ties to race, religion and nation (who was out there on the streets celebrating the death of Osama Bin Laden — it was goyim, not Jews, not blacks, not Muslims, not American-Chinese, etc), and denied them freedom of association and the kind of ethnic bonds we Jews enjoy.
All of the major Jewish organizations support immigration amnesty in the United States while fighting hard for Israel as a Jewish state. These are contradictory stands until you realize that in the minds of Jewish leaders, weakened goyisha identity is good for the Jews. It makes America more “user-friendly” for Jews in the words of Abraham Foxman of the ADL.
If you want to stop future holocausts, you should worry about the American currency, because if that crashes (due to the welfare state bloat and insane costs for needless overseas wars), Jews are in trouble.
The hardest thing for ordinary Jews to accept is that no people is entirely innocent, including Jews, and that the actions of a tiny number of elite Jews have fueled the whirlwind by supporting policies that diminish the goy and rob him of his traditional ties of race, religion and nation. Agudah Yisrael signed on to expanding the definition of hate crimes. The OU supports immigration amnesty. All significant American Jewish organizations support immigration amnesty, an idea that will destroy the United States. How can I stay silent? How can Jews stay silent when all of our major organizations are destroying our country by pushing the multicultural agenda on the goyim while preserving particularism for the benefit of Jews?
Adolf Hitler said in 1941: “I’m convinced that there are Jews in Germany who’ve behaved correctly — in the sense that they’ve invariably refrained from doing injury to the German idea. It’s a difficult to estimate how many there are, but what I also know is that none of them has entered into conflict with his co-racialists in order to defend the German idea against them… Probably many Jews are not aware of the destructive power they represent.” (December 1941, Pg. 494 of Esau’s Tears)
These Jewish organizations all demanded amnesty for undocumented immigrants in the United States, invoking the language of the Torah about our obligation to do kindness to the stranger in our midst. They have largely remained silent, however, in the face of Israel’s rounding up and forcible deportation of African asylum seekers. They should all be held to account for their hypocrisy – especially because the Torah was referring to how we treat non-Jews in Israel, not the United States.
American Forum of Russian Jewry (AFRJ)
American Jewish Committee
Bend the Arc: A Jewish Partnership for Justice
B’nai B’rith International
Bukharian Jewish Congress of the USA and Canada
HIAS (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society)
Jewish Council on Public Affairs
Jewish Federations of North America
National Council of Jewish Women
Reconstructionist Rabbinical College
Tikkun Olam Commission of the Jewish Reconstructionist Movement
T’ruah: The Rabbinic Call for Human Rights
Union for Reform Judaism
Women of Reform Judaism
AJC Los Angeles
AJC New York
AJC Philadelphia/Southern New Jersey
Anti‐Defamation League of Eastern PA and Southern NJ
Congregation Meor Hachaim of Luna Park (New York, NY)
FEGS Health & Human Services (New York, NY)
Greater Philadelphia Jewish Coalition on Immigration
HIAS Pennsylvania (Philadelphia, PA)
Indianapolis Jewish Community Relations Council
Jewish Alliance for Law and Social Action (Boston, MA)
Jewish Community Action (St. Paul, MN)
Jewish Community Center at Starrett City (New York, NY)
Jewish Community Relations Council of Philadelphia
Jewish Council on Urban Affairs (Chicago, IL)
Jewish Family & Career Services (Atlanta, GA)
Jewish Family & Children’s Service (Pittsburgh, PA)
Jewish Family & Children’s Services of the East Bay (Berkeley, CA)
Jewish Family Service of Buffalo & Erie County New York
Jewish Family Service of Western Massachusetts, Inc.
Jewish Family Services (Ann Arbor, MI)
Jewish Labor Committee Western Region (Los Angeles, CA)
Jewish Social Policy Action Network (Philadelphia, PA)
Jewish Vocational Service of MetroWest (East Orange, NJ)
Jews for Racial & Economic Justice (New York, NY)
Massachusetts Board of Rabbis (Newton, MA)
National Council of Jewish Women ‐ Greater Philadelphia
National Council of Jewish Women Texas State Policy Advocates
UJA‐Federation of New York
Women of Vision (Philadelphia, PA)