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Deborah Lipstadt

Deborah Lipstadt

Deborah Lipstadt stuck a major blow against Holocaust deniers when she won her landmark libel case against David Irving.

Historian Deborah Lipstadt is vindicated in libel suit brought by Holocaust denier

April 11, 2000

A British court resolved David Irving's libel case against Deborah Lipstadt in favor of Lipstadt, affirming Lipstadt's portrayal of Irving as an anti-Semitic Holocaust denier.

Deborah Lipstadt

“Unzere Devora,” our Deborah, “you do not know what you did for us,” murmured a Holocaust survivor before Yom ha-Sho’ah observances in the U.S. Capitol in April 2000. The comment stunned Deborah E. Lipstadt. An historian of American Jews, she had not sought the grueling libel trial that transformed her into a public personality. But she proved in a British court the historical truth of Hitler’s genocidal murder of six million European Jews during World War II to justify her characterization of David Irving as a Holocaust denier.

Historians in the United States

American Jewish women have been prominent within the historical profession. Indeed, many have been on the cutting edge of historical scholarship since the 1960s. In particular, Jewish women were at the forefront of developments within social history and in the creation of women’s history. While women generally, and Jewish women in particular, rarely made careers as historians in the first half of the twentieth century, Jewish women represented a significant proportion of academic historians both in American and European history as discrimination against Jews and prejudice against women lessened in the decades after World War II. Perhaps because of their sensitivity to the situation of powerless groups, most of them focused their attention not on traditional power elites but rather on those social groups traditionally ignored by academic historians: ordinary people, workers, peasants, minority groups, Jews, and especially women. They helped create, and were influenced by, new trends in historical scholarship that favored the study of such groups.

Who makes the Jewish future?

We may be known for our long and rich past, but I think it’s fair to say that the Jewish community is obsessed with its future – think about the role of a term like “Jewish continuity” in American Jewish life. And we also like to talk. So it’s not a big surprise that so many conferences and programs – especially now, in the early years of a new millennium – have taken the Jewish future as their subject.

How to cite this page

Jewish Women's Archive. "Deborah Lipstadt." (Viewed on October 16, 2017) <https://jwa.org/taxonomy/term/11887>.

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