Interview with Deborah Lipstadt: The New Dangers of Antisemitism and How to Stop It. 13. November 2019 0 Kommentare Zurück zur Übersicht On Saturday, the 16th of November, we will be having Deborah Lipstadt visiting the DAI. She is a historian and one of the most renowned researchers on the Holocaust worldwide. She gained international fame when she won the court case against Holocaust denier David Irving in 2000. In May 2018, she was awarded the Carl von Ossietzky Prize for Contemporary History and Politics. We had the opportunity to ask her some questions before her visit to Heidelberg. Check out the interview below: How has antisemitism evolved since the twentieth century, and why is it, once again, so powerful today? After the Holocaust we thought antisemitism was dead and gone. To put it bluntly: Hitler had made it unfashionable to be an antisemite. Today things are quite different. Unlike the 1930’s, today it is not coming from the government (yet?). I am reminded of a cousin of mine who was a student at a Jewish school on Reichskristallnacht. The school was set afire and the teachers came running into the dormitories where the boys slept and told them to run out of the building in their sleep clothing. As they left the building these young boys wondered where they should go. One suggested that they run to the policeman, as their parents had told them to do when they were in need of help. They approached the police officer and he brushed them off by saying: “I don’t take care of Jewish children.” That is not how things are today. We must, therefore, be very careful about quick and sloppy analogies to the 1930’s. That does not mean, however, that things are not serious. Today we see it from the right (Halle, Pittsburgh, Poway Ca.) and from the left (the UK Labour party, many progressive left entities). You ask why. That is not an easy question for a number of reasons. Most importantly, antisemitism is an illogical phenomenon (it’s a prejudice… prejudge, i.e. don’t confuse me with the facts). I think that the populism of the right and the extremism of the left have both contributed to the rise. And the Islamist extremism. What are your thoughts on the current political situation regarding antisemitism in Germany and Europe? Germany faces a serious problem. Halle would have been a major tragedy but for a reinforced door. The police were clearly lax in responding but what we saw attempted there (and the killing of two outsiders) was the same as what we saw in Pittsburgh. Your latest book, „Antisemitism: Here and Now“, addresses the question of how to deal with antisemitic stereotypes and hate speech. Could you give our readers three or four pieces of advice? Speak out. Be the unwelcome guest at the dinner party. If someone says something antisemitic (or racist, homophobic, or antipathy towards Muslims), don’t be silent. Speak up. You may not change their minds but you will demonstrate that this kind of language is unacceptable. Remember that all acts of hatred and violence begin with words. No genocide began with killings. It was always preceded by words. Words count. You cannot be against one ism and not against other ism’s. You can’t fight antisemitism but not care about racism. You can fight racism but engage in antisemitism (as we see on the left). Take this problem seriously. Jews may not present as the “typical” victim but we know from history (e.g. German Jews of the 1930’s) that these things happen to groups that look quite secure. Since you showed such tremendous courage in your trial against David Irving, you have become a role model for many people. Our question is, are you still afraid of anything? No fears for my personal safety. Life is too short to worry about that. I do fear that people will say, “Jews = victims? That’s not so. It’s really not a problem.” If that becomes the case, we will have an even bigger problem on our hands.