From the Protocols of the Elders of Zion to Holocaust Denial Trials
Contributions by: Deborah Lipstadt
Reacting to the Irving / Lipstadt trial, the editors of this volume sought to use this latest trial as a catalyst to investigate the larger question that arose from what is now a century of invective and defense: how do we determine the truth claims made for (or by, or against) the Holocaust in various media from outright forgeries like the "Protocols of the 'Elders of Zion'" to negationist literature to the legal trials held to adjudicate such claims. In this series of short essays, each author explores the methods and assumptions within their disciplines that frame the way in which we come to understand the racism and anti-Semitism which rest beneath Holocaust denial. As teachers of college and graduate courses on the Holocaust, faced with proliferating print and web based assertions and re-assertions of premises whose veracity had long since been disproved (e.g., Protocols of Zion), we feel it important to provide our students and colleagues with a text that would step back from the Holocaust itself to the broader question: why do these invectives persist despite legal verdicts, historical renunciation and "objective" reporting. In this manner, as part of their study of specific Holocaust related issues, students could confront the methods by which assertions related to the fate of Jews in the Twentieth Century have been asserted, struggled over, and fixed in the law, in historical canon, and in the popular imagination. By focusing on those moments when the truth claims of those assertions are subjected to public tests, such as the trials we focus upon in this volume, we can serve this larger purpose.
Publication Date: 3/1/2007