May 2, 2000
Lipstadt recounts battle with 'Amalek'
By Tom Tugend
LOS ANGELES (May 2) - Her old hometown gave Deborah Esther Lipstadt a rousing welcome Sunday, as the historian and author delivered her first public address since her signal victory in a British court over Holocaust denier David Irving.
Some 1,500 people overflowed the sanctuary of Temple Beth Am, which Lipstadt described as her spiritual home for 15 years. The warmth and gratitude of the audience was palpable. George Ganzberg thanked Lipstadt in the name of his family, which perished in the Holocaust, and his fellow survivors.
In her more than hour-long talk, Lipstadt reflected on her almost five-year ordeal, which began when Irving sued her and her publisher, Penguin Books, for libel in a British court.
Irving claimed he had been defamed when Lipstadt described him in her writing as "a Nazi apologist and an admirer of Hitler, who has resorted to distortion of facts and to manipulation of documents in support of his contention that the Holocaust did not take place."
Justice Charles Gray, in a withering 355-page [sic. 333] opinion, validated Lipstadt's description and effectively demolished Irving's pretense of historical scholarship in his writings.
In her talk, Lipstadt dwelled less on the basic facts of the case, which are now well known, than on some of the emotions and sidelights of the 12-week trial.
She and the audience were visibly moved when she opened the talk by reading a number of letters sent to her by Holocaust survivors. One read: "My mother was killed in Auschwitz. Had Irving won, she would have been killed a second time."
The most agonizing part of the trial, she recalled, was being forced to watch "Irving dance on the graves of the Holocaust dead." In one court exchange, Irving pointed to the number tattooed on the forearm of a woman survivor from Australia, and asked her, "How much money have you made out of this tattoo?"[*]
On balance, Lipstadt said, "I feel privileged and blessed that I was given the opportunity to stand up and battle for my people against this racist, antisemite, and Holocaust denier.... I didn't give as good as I got. I gave better than I got, and that feels real good."
When Irving first announced his libel suit, some friends and colleagues urged Lipstadt to avoid a protracted case with an uncertain outcome by simply meeting Irving's demand of a letter of apology and a £500 ($800) payment to his favorite charity.
Lipstadt said she never considered such a course. Her decision was reaffirmed, she said, "When I sat for three months only 10 feet away from Irving and saw a contemporary Amalek [biblical Israel's inveterate foe]. There is no compromise with such evil."
[* ] Website comment: The passages indicated are pure fiction, as the transcripts show. Lipstadt is an inveterate liar, and this passage will rebound on her, as will the entire conduct of the defence, in the appeal phase of the trial.
May 2, 2000
Website fact: The stamina of the defence team was aided by a six million dollar fund provided by Stephen Spielberg, Edgar J Bronfman, and the American Jewish Committee, which enabled them to pay 21 lawyers and "experts"; the experts like Evans, Longerich were paid up to £109,000 each to testify as they did (while the defence's star legal team was paid considerably more). Nobody was paying for Mr Irving, who has been fighting this battle for three whole years. Nobody was paying for Mr Irving, who has been fighting this battle for three whole years. Nor did he pay his defence witnesses one cent or sous: they testified from conviction, not for reward. [Help!]