Deborah Lipstadt speaks on Holocaust deniers and libel trial
By Conner Celli
Deborah Lipstadt, a Holocaust studies professor at Emory University, spoke on campus about her famous libel trial involving David Irving on Wednesday, Nov. 15.
The most documented genocide in world’s history is the Holocaust. David Irving, a Holocaust denier, brought a libel suit against Lipstadt because of her book, “Denying The Holocaust.”
Sophomore Stefanie Limbach is currently studying German and has been fascinated with the Holocaust. She knew it was a sad and difficult event in world history, but wanted to get a perspective from Lipstadt on how she felt about Holocaust deniers existing and fighting against the doubters.
“New insight is always good. It helps us become more aware of these issues that are occurring in the world and that they are not always addressed,” Limbach said. “[Lipstadt] helps bring justice to a topic such as the Holocaust.”
The tricky part about this particular libel case is that the claim happened in the UK, not in the United States, where libel laws are much more lenient. In the UK, the individual must prove the claim the writer made was true.
The trial lasted five years, but Lipstadt was found not guilty, while Irving is now labeled as a Holocaust denier.
One of Lipstadt’s main messages of the speech was to “stand up to the haters.” In other words, just because someone says something, doesn’t make it true.
Senior Leah Sauter has been interested in Lipstadt’s work for a very long time and considers Lipstadt a “historian superhero.”
Sauter believes Lipstadt’s message can be applied to the Bellingham community by making sure to realize when things are willfully untrue, Sauter said.
Sauter wants the Bellingham community to know Holocaust deniers exist in our society today and can be very dangerous.
Freshman Ellie Adams attended the event because she was interested in listening to a speaker who had a great amount of knowledge in a specific field.
“To have someone who is so knowledgeable and well-versed in these subjects come speak to us makes them more real,” Adams said. “ I think a lot of times these horrible things happen because people just aren’t necessarily standing up or the people that have power do so aren’t doing what they can.”