Books: Excerpts: Assault on History, Insult to Truth
In the first full-scale history of Holocaust denial, Deborah Lipstadt examines the common motives and tactics of deniers of the genocide of European Jews by the Nazis, as well as the undercurrents of modern culture that have taken this once low-profile phenomenon from the realm of crank antisemitism to the front pages and college lecture halls of this country and others. Ms. Lipstadt, who occupies the Dorot chair in modern Jewish and Holocaust studies at Emory University, builds her case in the excerpt below for the seriousness of the threat posed by this "assault on truth and memory'':
My previous book on the Holocaust dealt with the American press's coverage--or lack thereof--of the persecution of the Jews from 1933 to 1945. Much of the story that I told justly deserved the title Beyond Belief. For most editors and reporters this story was literally beyond belief, and the press either missed or dismissed this news story, burying specific news of gas chambers, death camps, and mass killings in tiny articles deep inside the papers.
When I turned to the topic of Holocaust denial, I knew that I was dealing with extremist antisemites who have increasingly managed, under the guise of scholarship, to camouflage their hateful ideology. However, I did not then fully grasp the degree to which I would be dealing with a phenomenon far more unbelievable than was my previous topic. On some level it is as unbelievable as the Holocaust itself and, though no one is being killed as a result of the deniers' lies, it constitutes abuse of the survivors. It is intimately connected to...
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