Independent London 03.17.00 http://www.independent.co.uk/ Pandora - Commentary THE HIGH Court case brought by David Irving against Deborah Lipstadt and Penguin Books wouldn't seem the first place to go for amusement. But Irving, who is suing the publisher for libel after Lipstadt called him a "Holocaust denier", has managed to keep the court entertained. In his closing speech, Irving became a little carried away while describing an encounter with a group of agitators. The exclamation "Mein Fuhrer!" which somehow found its way into his oratory caused spectators to fall about laughing. "Whether it was part of his story or a lapse in concentration is impossible to say," explains a witness. Fortunately, the judge managed to restrain any impulse to respond with a Nazi salute. ### ST. LOUIS POST DISPATCH 03.17.00 http://www.postnet.com/postnet/stories.nsf/ByDocID/11A186D25D02BE12862568A5003B5C04 COMMENTARY : Those who would deny the truth must not win By Barbara Finch THE HOLOCAUST MY friends Linda and Jerry volunteer at the St. Louis Holocaust Museum and Learning Center. Recently, on an almost-spring evening, they greeted a group of young adults from a local church. Linda began the tour in the quiet vestibule of the museum, where the walls are lined with poignant black and white photos of relatives and friends of St. Louis families, most of whom perished in Europe during the war. She explained that the word "holocaust" means "destruction by fire," that Jews were not the only people who were sought out and killed by the Nazis (homosexuals, Gypsies, the handicapped, intellectuals and Jehovah's Witnesses were also targets), and that approximately 250 Holocaust survivors live in the St. Louis area today. In the display area, Linda talked about how Hitler came to power, the concept of the master Aryan race, the boycott of Jewish shops, Kristallnacht, book burnings, Nazi youth rallies, ghettos, concentration camps, gas chambers and forced marches. The group was quiet, attentive and respectful. Jerry, one of those 250 local Holocaust survivors, described how he and his family managed to get through "six years of hell on earth." With calm bordering on dispassion, he described living in a Warsaw ghetto with food rations amounting to 150 calories a day. He talked about the smell, the lice, the hunger and the terror. The group sat in stunned silence as he described how he and 10 other people existed for 20 months in a hand-dug bunker under a barn, on a small farm six miles from Treblinka. Jerry did not see the sun shine for nearly two years. "Sometimes I think: Is it really true?" he said. "Then I look at the register of Jewish survivors, and I see that my name is there." Is it really true? As astonishing as it may seem, there are people who deny the Holocaust. In spite of the overwhelming evidence, the gruesome photographs, the eyewitness accounts and the personal stories of survivors such as Jerry, these deniers call the Holocaust a hoax or a myth. What began as a crackpot fringe movement has slowly worked its way into the public eye. No one knows this better than Deborah E. Lipstadt, a noted historian and professor at Emory University in Atlanta. For more than a decade, Lipstadt has examined Holocaust deniers. She has researched their connections to a worldwide network of right-wing and neo-Nazi groups. And while many of us may equate Holocaust deniers with those who believe that Elvis is alive and living in Montana, Lipstadt believes they are very, very dangerous. In her 1993 book, "Denying The Holocaust: The Growing Assault On Truth And Memory," Lipstadt writes: "Though denial of the Holocaust may be an attack on the history of the annihilation of the Jews, at its core it poses a threat to all who believe that knowledge and memory are among the keystones of our civilization. Just as the Holocaust was not a tragedy of the Jews but a tragedy of civilization in which the victims were Jews, so too denial of the Holocaust is not a threat just to Jewish history but a threat to all who believe in the ultimate power of reason." The power of reason is now being tested in a London courtroom, where Lipstadt and her publishers are the defendants in a suit brought by David Irving, a controversial British writer. Irving believes Hitler did not order the Holocaust, did not know of it and was therefore not responsible for it. He also has denied that Auschwitz was an extermination camp and claims the number of Jews killed has been grossly exaggerated. For such extremist views, Lipstadt has branded Irving as "one of the most dangerous spokespersons for Holocaust denial." Irving sued Lipstadt for libel. My friend Jerry expresses incredulity, anger, frustration and sadness when he talks about those who deny the Holocaust. If they are successful he feels, as Lipstadt writes, they will "kill those who already died at the hands of the Nazis for a second time by destroying the world's memory of them." Over the exit at the Holocaust Museum and Learning Center, is a quote from a survivor: "I have told you this story not to weaken you but to strengthen you. Now it is up to you." In view of what is happening in a London courtroom, those of us who believe in the power of reason must now realize: It is up to all of us. Barbara L. Finch, Kirkwood, is a free-lance writer. Deborah Lipstadt will be in St. Louis May 19-20 for three appearances at Congregation Temple Israel. Call (314) 432-8050 for information.
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