Lisa's Reviews > History on Trial: My Day in Court with a Holocaust Denier

History on Trial by Deborah E. Lipstadt
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Oct 04, 2016

really liked it
bookshelves: biography-memoir, history-ww2
Read from May 08 to 12, 2011

For readers with an interest in the Holocaust and the British legal system (libel law, specifically). Deborah Lipstadt, an American professor of Holocaust studies, had written in her book, Denying the Holocaust, that David Irving, who had written about 20 books of supposed history (including Hitler's War), was a Holocaust denier, an anti-Semite (that being the reason he was a Holocaust denier), and that he had manipulated documents and events to support his view that Hitler knew nothing of the Final Solution, that there were no gassings or crematoria at Auschwitz, and that while Jews had died during World War II, they had died because of epidemics of typhus and other diseases. He also asserted that some Allied activities (such as the bombing of Dresden) had killed as many people and been as bad as the "so-called" Holocaust.

To Lipstadt and her supporters, the case was crucial in demonstrating that Holocaust denial was not just an "acceptable" alternative view of history, as some historians said when they dismissed Irving's writings but said he had a right to his opinion. Lipstadt's counsel and expert witnesses conclusively proved that Irving had falsified documents and events--that he was a liar--because of his anti-Semitic views and his belief that a worldwide Jewish "conspiracy" existed to discredit him. Instead he was himself discredited. While the outcome of the trial is not in doubt to the reader, Lipstadt expresses her own doubts as she recorded them in her journals along the way. I was satisfied to see Irving get his comeuppance and to read of his inconsistent statements and bumbling legal tectics, as well as the successful legal tactics of the defense team.
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