Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

5 Iyar 5760 - May 10, 2000 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly








Sponsored by
Shema Yisrael Torah Network
Shema Yisrael Torah Network

Produced and housed by

Opinion & Comment
One Cannot Deny Historical Reality!

A little over a month ago, a British court came to the welcome conclusion that amateur historian David Irving was not libeled when he was called a "Holocaust denier" by American professor Deborah Lipstadt.

Though 55 years have passed since the final defeat of Nazi Germany, there are still hundreds of thousands of eyewitnesses who can testify firsthand to the horrors perpetrated by Hitler's Germany.

What made the Irving case serious was the fact that David Irving is a hard worker who has published original research on Holocaust events that are acknowledged to be of value by professional historians. Partly because of his views, he was given access to documents that were not shown to previous researchers. Unlike some others, he could not be immediately dismissed as a boor and a crackpot. In a court case that had worldwide attention, Irving challenged one of his critics to prove that he was wrong.

Nonetheless, labeling Irving a "pro-Nazi polemicist," the British judge found that he deliberately misrepresented and manipulated historical evidence to suit his own ideological agenda and that, for the most part, the falsification of the historical record was deliberate. The judge said that Irving is a racist and a Holocaust denier.

The judge said that Irving "makes surprising and often unfounded assertions about the Nazi regime, which tend to exonerate the Nazis for the appalling atrocities they inflicted on the Jews. . . . [and] was motivated by a desire to present events in a manner consistent with his own ideological beliefs . . . "

Even as the British court was applauded around the world -- and there is no doubt that it is an important victory -- the same distortions of the historical record were being repeated in official publications in Syria. In the Palestinian Authority, children are brought up learning that the Holocaust is a myth cultivated by the Jews to win world sympathy. Irving himself will be hurt by the decision (if only because he must somehow pay the $5 million court costs of his opponents), but he is unbowed, unrepentant and unconvinced. He will certainly continue preaching the same lies.

Many find it amazing that a major historical event, with many millions participating in various aspects, with so much documentary evidence, can be denied or even distorted. Yet the fact is that even now many argue that the charges are just so incredible that they are unbelievable. If this is possible already today, just imagine how easy it will be in another 30-50 years.

The sad truth is that there is a parallel much closer to home. For years we have been forced to try to convince many of our own brethren of the historical truth of the events of yetzias Mitzrayim and matan Torah -- which were witnessed by millions of our own fathers and mothers, and documented fully in written and oral traditions. This was an historical reality that was overwhelmingly accepted by the Jewish people for thousands of years.

All who can see so clearly how terrible it is to deny the Holocaust, should fully realize that the same lesson applies to all important historical truth. We have no scale on which to weigh the denial of the Holocaust against the denial of the historical roots of the Jewish nation, but we are sure that both do serious damage to the future of the Jewish people.

All material on this site is copyrighted and its use is restricted.
Click here for conditions of use.