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‘Holocaust Denier’ Libel Case To Hit Big Screen

Plot centers on battle between Deborah Lipstadt and Nazi apologist David Irving

Jonathan Zalman
April 28, 2015
Hilary Swank at the Cannes Film Festival on May 18, 2014. (Loic Venance/AFP/Getty Images)

Hilary Swank at the Cannes Film Festival on May 18, 2014. (Loic Venance/AFP/Getty Images)

In 1996, British Holocaust revisionist David Irving sued Deborah E. Lipstadt, author of Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth & Memory, for libel. The book, published in 1993, depicts “those who insist that the death of six million Jews in Nazi concentration camps is nothing but a hoax perpetrated by a powerful Zionist conspiracy.” Among “the province of pseudohistorians,” wrote Lipstadt, was David Irving.

The case closed in 2000, and six years later, Lipstadt published History on Trial: My Day in Court with a Holocaust Denier, which depicts her legal battle with Irving. (Lipstadt wrote The Eichmann Trial for Nextbook Press, part of its Jewish Encounter Series).

Yesterday it was announced that Lipstadt’s book had been adapted by British playwright David Hare, who won an Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay for The Hours.

Hilary Swank, who won the Oscar for Best Actress for her role as a bad-ass boxer in Clint Eastwood’s Million Dollar Baby (2004), will play Lipstadt. Tom Wilkinson, who played crime lord Carmine Falcone in Batman Begins, will play a barrister.

The role of David Irving is yet to be cast.

Jonathan Zalman is a writer and teacher based in Brooklyn.

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