UW News

September 20, 2016

New film about British Holocaust trial has UW connection

UW News

Poster for the film "Denial," which is about historian Deborah Lipstadt, who taught at the University of Washington in the 1970s.Denial,” a new movie about an American historian’s lengthy court battle with a British Holocaust denier, has a University of Washington connection — Deborah Lipstadt, the film’s protagonist, taught at the UW early in her career.

The movie is the story of how Lipstadt, now with Emory University, successfully faced down Holocaust denier David Irving in a three-month 2000 trial in London’s high court. The film was adapted from Lipstadt’s book, “History on Trial: My Day in Court with a Holocaust Denier.”

Lipstadt was the first Jewish Studies faculty member at the UW, back in the 1970s. She remains in touch with and supportive of the Stroum Center for Jewish Studies in the UW Jackson School of International Studies, and visited for the center’s 40th anniversary gala in 2012.

In the movie she is portrayed by Rachel Weisz (“The Constant Gardner”), while Irving is played by Timothy Spall (“Mr. Turner”). A review in The Hollywood Reporter said Weisz plays Lipstadt with “a single-minded presence and makes her search for the truth and her defeat of lies a noble and urgent purpose” and that Spall “brings a touch of the absurd to the abrasive, distasteful Irving.”

In a recent article in the publication The Algemeiner, Lipstadt was quoted as saying, “While the movie can only accomplish so much, it will educate and show the world the absolute ludicrous, delusional and absurd quality of Holocaust denial.

“You can have a lot of opinions, but in the end, you cannot have your own facts,” Lipstadt said. “Historians of the Holocaust are especially careful about getting their facts right, and no one can say it is all a lie or there is no evidence.”

The film’s will be released in some markets on Sept. 30; in Seattle, it opens on Oct. 14.

  • Watch the trailer for the film “Denial.”