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Deborah Lipstadt

Deborah Lipstadt stuck a major blow against Holocaust deniers when she won her landmark libel case against David Irving. After earning a PhD from Brandeis in 1976, she became the first professor to teach Jewish studies at the University of Washington before teaching at UCLA for several years. In 1986, she published Beyond Belief: The American Press and the Coming of the Holocaust 1933–1945, which investigated what Americans knew of Nazi atrocities at the time they happened. In 1993, she became professor at Emory University and published Denying the Holocaust, an analytical study which earned her the National Jewish Book Honor Award and led to President Clinton appointing her to the United States Holocaust Memorial Council. David Irving, whom she had named a Holocaust denier in the book, sued her for libel, choosing to bring the case in British court, where the burden of proof would be on Lipstadt, not on himself. Lipstadt chose to remain silent at the trial and instead bring the best historical evidence to speak for her. After five years, the courts ruled in favor of Lipstadt in 2000. As of 2014, she continues to write and speak out against Holocaust denial and teach at Emory University.

Lipstadt, Deborah - still image [media]
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After publication of her seminal work Denying the Holocaust, Deborah Lipstadt was sued by a historian whom she had accused of denying the Holocaust. To disprove his claim she had to demonstate that the events he denied had actually occurred. Thus a court case about libel ultimately served to put the truth of the Holocaust on trial, and to catapult Professor Lipstadt from "academic" to "celebrity."

Photographer: Jillian Edelstein; Institution: Deborah Lipstadt

Date of Birth
March 18, 1947
Place of Birth
New York, New York
Occupations

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Deborah Lipstadt." (Viewed on September 18, 2014) <http://jwa.org/people/lipstadt-deborah>.

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