Deborah E. Lipstadt
Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish and Holocaust Studies
The Donald A. Tam Institute for Jewish Studies
Dr. Deborah E. Lipstadt is Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish and Holocaust Studies at Emory University in Atlanta. Her book History on Trial: My Day in Court with David Irving (Ecco/HarperCollins, 2005) is the story of her libel trial in London against David Irving, who sued her for calling him a Holocaust denier and right wing extremist. The book has been described as a “fascinating and meritorious work of legal—and moral—history” (Kirkus, November 2004). It won the National Jewish Book Award and was a finalist for the Koret Book Award. It was ranked by the editors at Amazon.com as number four on its list of top ten history books of 2005.
The Daily Telegraph ( London) declared that Lipstadt’s trial had “done for the new century what the Nuremberg tribunals or the Eichmann trial did for earlier generations.” The Times (London) described it as “history has had its day in court and scored a crushing victory.” The judge found David Irving to be a Holocaust denier, a falsifier of history, a racist, an antisemite, and a liar. Her legal battle with Irving lasted approximately six years. According to the New York Times, the trial “put an end to the pretense that Mr. Irving is anything but a self-promoting apologist for Hitler.” In July 2001 the Court of Appeal resoundingly rejected Irving’s attempt to appeal the judgment against him.
As an historical consultant to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, she helped design the section of the Museum dedicated to the American Response to the Holocaust.
Lipstadt has been called upon by both President Bill Clinton and George W. Bush to represent the United States in several capacities. President Bush asked her to represent the White House at the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz. In June 2007 President Bush appointed her to the American delegation to the OSCE (the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) conference on combating intolerance and antisemitism. President Clinton appointed her to two consecutive terms on the United States Holocaust Memorial Council. She accompanied President and Mrs. Clinton on an official visit to Warsaw. President Clinton also appointed her to the United States State Department Advisory Committee on Religious Freedom Abroad. In this capacity she, together with a small group of leaders and scholars, advised Secretary of State Madeline Albright on matters of religious persecution abroad.
Dr. Lipstadt has also written Denying the Holocaust (Free Press/Macmillan, 1993), the first full length study of those who deny the Holocaust. The book has been translated into German and Japanese. She has also written Beyond Belief: The American Press and the Coming of the Holocaust (Free Press/Macmillan, 1986, 1993). The book, an examination of how the American press covered the news of the persecution of European Jewry between the years 1933 and 1945, addresses the question “what did the American public know and when did they know it?”
She has taught at University of Washington, UCLA and Occidental College in Los Angeles. In Spring 2006 she was a Visiting Professor at the Gregorian Pontifical University in Rome. She received her B.A. from City College of New York and her M.A. and Ph.D. from Brandeis University.
Professor Lipstadt is frequently called upon by the media to comment on matters of Jewish interest. She has appeared on BBC, CNN, CBS’s Sixty Minutes, NBC’s Today Show, ABC’s Good Morning America, National Public Radio’s Fresh Air, PBS’s Charlie Rose Show, and the O’Reilly Factor. She is a frequent contributor to and is widely quoted in a variety of newspapers including the Los Angeles Times, Washington Post, New York Times, and Chicago Tribune.
She has received numerous teaching awards including Emory’s student government association’s award for being the teacher most likely to motivate students to learn about new and unfamiliar topics and the Emory Williams Distinguished Teaching award, for her courses on modern Jewish and Holocaust studies. Given to Emory’s outstanding teachers, the award is based on nominations by alumni of the professor who has had the greatest impact on them. She has received Honorary Doctorates from Yeshiva University, Bar Ilan University, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, and Hebrew Union College.
The Forward named her number two on its list of the “Forward Fifty”: the fifty top Jewish news makers for the year 2000. She is the 2005 winner of the Al Chernin Award given by the Jewish Council for Public Affairs to the person who best exemplifies protection of the First Amendment. Previous recipients include Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Alan Dershowitz, and Stu Eisenstat.