Denying the Holocaust

The film Denial led me to Deborah Lipstadt’s book of the same name, her account of the trial that followed David Irving suing her for libel in 1996. And they in turn brought me to this book, the one which Irving said had libelled him as a Holocaust denier.

It’s not as easy to read as Ms Lipstadt’s account of the trial, but I don’t mean that as a criticism. This is a scholarly study of attempts to deny the Holocaust, and how the tactics of the deniers have changed in the decades since the end of the Second World War. Her research is thorough, exhaustive even, and the book offers a grim illustration of the ever more inventive lengths the deniers will go to to make their case.

Most alarmingly, it describes how – as the number of death camp survivors continues to dwindle – the deniers have discovered fertile new ground in which to spread their lies. With fewer and fewer people left to bear living witness to the Holocaust, they can call out, ‘Show me someone who was there, someone who experienced this.’ And when there’s nobody left to stand up and say they were there, these same deniers will not only be able to sow yet more doubt in impressionable minds, but they’ll also be able to increase the number of people who believe there are actually two sides to this ghastly episode in human history.

With the right on the rise all over the world and the growing number of believers in ‘fake news,’ I can’t recommend this book enough. It may now be almost twenty years old, but its message is just as vital today as when it was first published.

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