Soon after Deborah E. Lipstadt published Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory in 1993, a Gallup poll found that nearly 40 percent of American adults didn’t know what “the Holocaust” meant, and 13 percent weren’t completely sure the Holocaust happened. Such ignorance is on the rise. Not long before Lipstadt published her most recent book, Antisemitism: Here and Now (Schocken, 2019, 304 pages, $25.95), a study by the Conference on Jewish Material Claims Against Germany showed that one-third of Americans think that substantially fewer than six million Jews were murdered during the Holocaust.
Why has this type of thinking become commonplace? What has led to such denial of documented history? And what does the world have to fear in the face of this? Lipstadt addresses these questions in Antisemitism: Here and Now, written as a series of letters to composite figures of a colleague and a student at Emory University, where she is Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies.
“One of the sad things about the rise in antisemitism is that today, many people associate Jewish culture with negativity as opposed to the many positive things about Jewish life,” Lipstadt said. “Judaism is vibrant and multifaceted. It’s not just about [the] Jew as victim. But today, we have to look at the negative as well, because it can be dangerous. What starts with the Jews rarely ends with the Jews. Antisemitism is the tip of a much broader hatred which often lies beneath the surface.”
Lipstadt talks about Antisemitism: Here and Now at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 4, at the James A. Little Theater (1060 Cerrillos Road) in a presentation co-sponsored by the Santa Fe Distinguished Lecture Series and the Santa Fe Jewish Film Festival. Tickets are $18, brownpapertickets.com/event/4253757. For more information, call 505-920-7771.