Lipstadt in Australia
DEBORAH Lipstadt, author of the Anti-Defamation League's blockbuster book promotion Denying the Holocaust--The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory (The Free Press/Macmillan, New York, 1993) made her third tour of Australia during July 1994 on a junket paid for by the Australian Institute of Jewish Affairs, and at the invitation of Gerard Henderson's Sydney Institute. Both bodies are frantically engaged in damage control after the two year long controversy over David Irving's banning from the country has resulted in a situation where, as the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) admitted in July, seventy percent of the Australians have now heard the claim that the Holocaust did not happen as legend maintains.
In her book and elsewhere Lipstadt, associate professor of Modern Jewish and Holocaust Studies at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, has emphasised that there is a danger that when the last eye-witnesses, as she calls them, have died, the accepted version of the Holocaust will die with them.
Seemingly in direct contradiction of this statement, she adds that there are mountains of documents proving the existence of the gas chambers and factories of death. "The documents," she writes on page 226 of her twenty-eight dollar book, "include work orders, supply requisitions, time sheets, engineering instructions, invoices, and completion reports. All clearly indicate that the gas chambers were to be used for nothing but homicidal gassings."
Barely twenty four hours into her trip across Australia, she repeated this lie about the existence of "gas chamber plans" in a radio interview conducted by Ramona Koval on ABC Radio on Jul.20. Originalton Lipstadt:
"Our best proof to the Holocaust are the perpetrators. They left us an incredible amount of documentation, precise documentation. Plans of the gas chambers, work orders for the gas chambers, precise requisition forms for building the gas chambers. They left us with reports of exactly what happened."
November 11, 1994 At a typical lecture to students in Atlanta she went even further with her lies, claiming to possess "blueprints" of the gas chambers "showing the holes in the ceiling through which the S.S. officers tipped in the lethal cyanide crystals."
This was the famous lecture attended, unbeknownst to Lipstadt, by David Irving himself, whom she had just smeared extensively in her lecture as an "historian whom no other reputable historian respects". Invited to state a question, at the meeting's end, he rose and in front of the five hundred students attending this compulsory lecture he plucked a wad of $20 bills from his pocket and challenged:
"Why are you lying to these innocent students! I have here $1,000 in bills. This cash is yours, Professor Lipstadt, if you can produce the 'blueprint' you just claimed to have in your possession, or if you can even tell us where to find it. You know it does not exist. Why do you lie to the students?"
Lipstadt angrily called on campus security guards to throw Mr Irving out. (They approached him, but did not attempt to evict him after he called the students' attention to her unorthodox way of handling debates.)
At this Atlanta lecture she proudly took the credit for having coined the ADL's latest phrase, "Holocaust deniers". In the Australian media however she denied it.
Words mean more than substance to her. During her Australian tour she emphasised to what the Australian Jewish News called a disappointingly small audience, "I cannot counsel strongly enough against using the term 'Holocaust revisionism.' It simply does not exist." She continued: "Those who seek to debate the Holocaust are not revising anything. They are simply denying history." "Instead of supporting Hitler," said Dr Lipstadt, shocked at the convolutions of her opponents' new tactics, "they condemn him. But they say the Holocaust was a hoax and they only want scholarly conferences. They only want the truth." That was where the "deniers" had gained ground.
In a prime-time television programme aired by ABC Television Lipstadt admitted that she had refused to appear on their programme if they also invited a representative of the other side of the debate: she would never debate a "denier", she said.
Sometimes she had no choice. At her Melbourne meeting on Sunday Jul.31 when Dr Frank Knopfelmacher, amidst an uproar, insisted that he had a copy of Hitler's Order for the extermination of the Jews (there is no such document in fact) Lipstadt -- no historian, she -- bluffed, said that she too was aware of this document, but dismissed it outright. Knopfelmacher muttered loudly that he was a "true" survivor and he used a vulgar word to describe those like Lipstadt who wished to silence him.
Believing that Mr Irving would never hear of her words, Prof. Lipstadt told shocked audiences in Melbourne and Sydney that he has a lifesize portrait of Adolf Hitler in his study in London. If so, thirty years of visiting journalists have never glimpsed it.