Deborah E. Lipstadt
Toleh Eretz Al B'limah (God suspends the earth over a void). . . . How can we continue to believe when we know that not too long ago millions of people were allowed to fall into that void, never to emerge?
DEBORAH E. LIPSTADT
While it cannot compare with the anguish of surviving the Holocaust, studying it is difficult and depressing work, for there is more darkness than any scholarship can penetrate, let alone dispel. The discouragement can become especially acute when the subject is not only the Holocaust itself but also denial that the Holocaust ever happened. Inaccurately dubbed "Holocaust revisionists," there are people who make that claim. Echoing all-too-familiar themes of antisemitism and adding newer anti-Israeli sentiments of their own, these "scholars" contend that there was no "Final Solution." Those who say otherwise, they insist, are party to Jewish/Zionist plots that exploit others.
It would be tempting not to take such denials seriously, but historian Deborah E. Lipstadt knows better. History belongs to those who interpret it. While it is discouraging to think anyone would deny that the "Final Solution" occurred, Lipstadt believes that it would be even worse to let these charges stand without contesting them directly. Her book Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truthtakes on that task successfully.
One reason Lipstadt fears Holocaust denial so much involves Beyond Belief, another of her important books. Focusing on the American press's failure in the thirties and forties to treat the destruction of European Jewry as urgent news, it shows how high the costs turn out to be when truth is downplayed, ignored, denied, taken in any way less than with the utmost seriousness.