Denying the Holocaust

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This article is about the book by Deborah Lipstadt. For the phenomenon, see Holocaust denial.
Lipstadt's book: Denying the Holocaust

Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth & Memory is a 1993 book which addresses Holocaust denial, authored by Deborah Lipstadt. It led to a libel action when David Irving objected to Lipstadt calling him a holocaust denier (see Irving v Penguin Books and Lipstadt). The book gives a detailed explanation of how people came to deny that the Holocaust ever happened. Deborah Lipstadt claims that after World War II in France Maurice Bardèche (who incidentally supported those French people who collaborated with Hitler and condemned the resistance) and Paul Rassinier (a survivor of Nazi concentration camps who it has been controversially claimed[by whom?] might have developed Stockholm syndrome) denied outright that the Holocaust ever happened, as did various Nazi sympathizers in America. According to Lipstadt, Austin App, a professor of English at La Salle College and the University of Scranton first put out several notions that later Holocaust deniers followed. Basically, App tried to deny that the Holocaust happened, that gas chambers existed, that innocent Jews were killed, and tried to claim that defeated Germany was compelled to agree with the allies.

Lipstadt sees Holocaust denial as "purely anti-Semitic diatribe"; she outlines the history of Holocaust denial, claims that it is increasing and should not be disregarded. Holocaust deniers were originally a "Lunatic fringe" and could be seen as harmless cranks but are now more numerous and influential than before.

Lipstadt gives many examples of allegations that six million Jews were not systematically exterminated, but, rather, 300,000 to 1.5 million Jews died of disease and other causes. This has been widely refuted; for example, the English BBC stated that "Holocaust denial is a tissue of lies"[1]. Lipstadt shows that tens of thousands of witnesses of the Holocaust are still alive and there is conclusive documentary evidence for it. Lipstadt claims that distorting history in this way risks undermining the western tradition of objective scholarship i.e. the scientific method and make distorting history for political purposes appear legitimate.

She accuses groups like the Institute for Historical Review and people like David Duke of spreading lies about the Holocaust. Lipstadt claims this is now an international movement where Holocaust deniers call themselves 'research centres', for example, and produce what they say are independent publications to make themselves look more scientific than they are. In Lipstadt’s opinion current value relativism helps Holocaust denial to thrive.

This book was the cause of the libel suit Irving v. Penguin Books and Lipstadt, when David Irving sued Lipstadt claiming unsuccessfully that she had libelled him in this book.

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