"Denial" Review
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Politics and Activism

"Denial" Review

Fight for the truth.

17
"Denial" Review
Renegade Tribune

In 1996, Holocaust denier David Irving filed a suit against professor of Jewish History and Holocaust Studies at Emory University, Dr. Deborah Lipstadt for libel in her book Denying the Holocaust. She did, in fact, mention Irving in her book, stating that:

“Irving is one of the most dangerous spokespersons for Holocaust denial. Familiar with historical evidence, he bends it until it conforms with his ideological leanings and political agenda.”

He claimed that she libeled him by falsely calling him a Holocaust denier and accusing him of falsifying historical evidence. This threatened his reputation as an esteemed historian.

Despite pleas from both legal counsel and Jewish community leaders to settle, she chose to fight Irving in England’s High Court of Justice. Ultimately, she won by proving that the accusations against Irving were substantially true and therefore not libelous.

Director Mick Jackson brought this story to the big screen in September in the film “Denial,” starring Rachel Weisz as Lipstadt and Timothy Spall as Irving. After premiering at the Toronto Film Festival and being released independently, it was released to a general audience this weekend.

This film is not only beautifully shot and sharply written, but supremely important. The growth of anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial in recent years necessitates the making of this movie. Not only that, but Lipstadt’s trial is not about proving that the Holocaust happened, nor an attack on free speech. Rather, she acts as a champion for truth and struggles to make the world realize the severe impact it can have when it is compromised.

"I’m defending my right to stand up against someone who wants to pervert the truth."

Irving uses his false claims that Hitler never ordered the extermination of Jews in Europe and that no Jews died in the gas chambers of Auschwitz as pillars for his argument. It’s shown that these assertions are only made to further his agenda of anti-Semitism.

This type of ideology can spread rapidly, and one of Lipstadt’s main concerns is that if they lose the case, this sets a precedent everywhere that it’s just to deny the Holocaust. To erase this part of history is to erase a part of Jewish identity and to also create the grounds for proof of numerous prejudices and misconceptions of Jewish people.

This film is important to not just Jewish people, but to anyone who has had to suffer under lies that perpetuate false and dangerous ideologies.

In this era of technology, it would seem as though people are able to examine and check more carefully the things they hear every day through political leaders, media, etc. But instead it has created a deluge of information, and, along with that, misinformation. Almost anyone is free to say whatever they want and bestow their message on the largest audience in the world – internet users.

While “Denial” focuses on an incredibly important issue that is still contested around the world today, Lipstadt did more than just protect her word, Holocaust survivors, and the Jewish people as a whole. She set a precedent for others. We should all channel the brave Lipstadt when we realize we’re in a situation where confirming the truth can change and save lives. And that doesn’t have to happen on an international stage.

Addressing micro-aggressions and passive insults and judgments about groups of people is one way to do this. Shutting down jokes that use marginalized groups as the subjects is another.

Lipstadt is a huge advocate for freedom of speech, even speaking out against Irving’s 2006 arrest in Austria on the charge of Holocaust denial. But she is an even bigger advocate for the truth and the repercussions that can happen when we don’t fight for it.

“Freedom of speech means you can say whatever you want. What you can’t do is lie and expect not to be accountable for it.”

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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