Chapter I.
What is Holocaust Denial and Distortion? Examples from Eastern Europe


The Identifying and Countering Holocaust Distortion: Lessons for and from Southeast Asia exhibition draws first from the Polish and Eastern European experience of the Holocaust, and second from the regional and national histories and legacies of Southeast Asia. The exhibition focuses on Cambodia, Myanmar, and Thailand.

While Southeast Asia shares a common, global experience with Central and Eastern Europe of the Second World War, each region simultaneously has its own distinct experience. The Holocaust was perpetrated primarily on Central and Eastern European soil, where between 1933 and 1945 Nazi Germany and its collaborators exterminated six million Jews in death camps or by execution on the spot. Eastern Europe—which has also experienced communism and totalitarianism—was forced to reckon with its difficult past; this involved engaging in difficult debates, including those on the role of the region’s own occupied nations during the Holocaust; some were perpetrators, some were bystanders, and others rescuers and upstanders.

Although the Southeast Asian experience of the Second World War includes the Japanese occupation—as well as other conflicts and instances of genocide—awareness of the Holocaust remains low. This provides fertile ground for various kinds of distortion and trivialisation. Aside from historical ignorance, the absence of knowledge on Holocaust history, and the inability to apply the universal lessons of the Holocaust in non-European contexts, numerous examples also exist of Holocaust distortion in public and media discourses. By exchanging experiences and providing tools and arguments to address Holocaust distortion that are based on Eastern European debates, the exhibition aims to encourage critical discourses on dealing with the legacy of genocide in Southeast Asia.

Our aim is to dispel distortion, banalisation, and denial of the Holocaust and other genocides; to emphasise the significance of the Holocaust as universal heritage and as a point of reference in contemporary debates on human rights. We view genocide denial and distortion as a form of hatred that accompanies the dehumanisation of victims; one that is used to justify discrimination and other acts of violence against minorities.
This digital exhibition includes materials from the archive of the NEVER AGAIN Association as well as materials collected and shared by our colleagues from Southeast Asia.

The views expressed by the individual contributors to the exhibition do not necessarily reflect those of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance and Heinrich Böll Stiftung Cambodia.

Exhibition contributors: Venerable Lablu Barua (Wat Phrmarangsi Buddhist Monastery, Thailand), Ronan Lee (Loughborough University, UK), Terry Manttan (Thailand-Burma Railway Centre, Thailand), Rafal Pankowski (NEVER AGAIN Association, Poland), Patporn (Aor) Phoothong (6 October Museum Project, Thailand), Sammy Samuels (Jewish Community of Myanmar), Sayana Ser (Peace Institute, Cambodia), Jean Sien Kin (TSGM, Cambodia), Natalia Sineaeva (NEVER AGAIN Association, Poland), Verita Sriratana (Chulalongkorn University, Thailand), Thet Swe Win (Synergy, Myanmar), Barbara Thimm (TSGM, Cambodia)

Translators: Hay Mann Zu Zue, Khaing Khaing and Yaya (David) Aye Myat (Burmese language), Wirakarn Salmand (Thai language), Sayana Ser (Khmer language)

English editor: Kevin McRobb (UK/Poland)

Web layout design: Dmitrii Arikov (Eco Tiras, Moldova), Vitalii Boico (Eco-Tiras, Moldova)

PDF layout design: Andrey Sergunkin (Memorial, Russia/Poland)                                                                      

What is Holocaust Denial and Distortion?

For an internationally accepted definition see the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) Working Definition of Holocaust Denial and Distortion.

1. What is Holocaust denial?

Denial is a common feature of genocide. Perpetrators themselves often become the first deniers as they attempt to whitewash their own crimes.
The founder of ‘Genocide Watch’, Gregory H. Stanton included ‘denial’ in his 10 stages of genocide. He writes:

‘DENIAL is the final stage that lasts throughout and always follows genocide. It is among the surest indicators of further genocidal massacres. The perpetrators of genocide dig up the mass graves, burn the bodies, try to cover up the evidence and intimidate the witnesses. They deny that they committed any crimes, and often blame what happened on the victims. They block investigations of the crimes, and continue to govern until driven from power by force, when they flee into exile. There they remain with impunity, like Pol Pot or Idi Amin, unless they are captured and a tribunal is established to try them.’[1]

In the same way, the origins of Holocaust denial can be found among the perpetrators—the Nazis. They had already attempted to whitewash the evidence of their crimes during the Holocaust. No written orders existed from Adolf Hitler to murder the Jews; instead, the perpetrators used code words and euphemisms to conceal the extermination, such asAussiedlung (‘evacuation’), Abschiebung (‘deportation’), and Endloesung (‘the Final Solution’). The Nazis organised the secret Unit Aktion 1005 campaign from June 1942 until late 1944 to destroy evidence of the mass murder that had occurred under Operation Reinhard, which aimed to exterminate all Jews in occupied Poland. They exhumed mass graves and burned bodies, as well as destroyed the death camps, which had been constructed in a way that allowed them to be demolished easily.

Soon after the Second World War, the popularity of Holocaust denial grew—particularly among former supporters and participants of the Nazi regime and among European collaborationist movements that refused to accept responsibility for genocide. Holocaust denial was a set of historical claims that presented the Nazi regime favourably and was born as a result of the political needs of neo-Nazi movements.

2. What do Holocaust deniers claim?

Holocaust denial (or negation) is considered the most extreme form of ‘historical revisionism’[2] that pertains to the Second World War. Although it is widely accepted that Holocaust denial and revisionism are distinct practices, the term, ‘Holocaust revisionism’ is occasionally used in academic and public discourses. Deniers prefer to call themselves ‘revisionists’; in this way, they attempt to legitimise themselves as genuine academics and historical researchers.

According to deniers, the Holocaust simply never occurred; it is a wholly fabricated story, which was invented in the interests of the state of Israel and the international Jewish conspiracy. Deniers minimise the number of victims, in addition to denying the existence of extermination plans and the use of the gas chambers at Auschwitz–Birkenau to murder Jews in such large numbers. They also minimise the amount of suffering and destruction that resulted from Nazi policies in Europe, instead claiming that the causalities were merely result of armed conflict and disease. They deny the intentional extermination of Jews by the Nazis. They also assert that the majority of Jews were allowed to emigrate to the USA and that the testimonies of survivors are exaggerated. They claim that Anne Frank’s diary was false.

Deniers’ arguments can be easily discredited by the following evidence:

  • The Holocaust was very well documented, and many of these documents were captured by Allied troops before the Nazis had managed to destroy them. These include detailed report of mass murders and gassings. Some were presented by the prosecution during the Nuremburg Trials.
  • The first-hand testimony of Holocaust survivors, including films and photographs of the killing, of which some were taken secretly; films and photos were also taken by the camps’ liberators.
  • Nazi Germany and its collaborators exterminated not only Jews who lived in Germany, but also those who lived across Europe; this informs the estimate of six million exterminated Jews.
  • The mass killing of Jews by gassing with Zyklon B in death camps was proved by the testimony of the perpetrators themselves, as well as of prisoners and members of the ‘Sonderkommando’—groups of inmates who were forced to remove the dead from the gas chambers and dispose of their bodies. Evidence was also uncovered due to archaeological works conducted at the sites of the Nazi death and concentration camps.
  • Forensic experts and archaeologists have also investigated the sites of mass killings of Jews in Eastern Europe and in the former Soviet Union, where German Nazis often killed Jews on the spot (by bullet). This also happened while Jews were being transported to camps in Poland.

Questions for Critical Thinking:

  • What are the consequences of genocide denial?
  • What are the main arguments and strategies of deniers of atrocities/genocide in your country (e.g. atrocities against the Rohingya in Myanmar, the Khmer Rouge atrocities in Cambodia, the atrocities in Thailand) and what is their impact on society today?
1., Assessed on 1 August 2021.
2. ‘Historical revisionism’ is the reinterpretation of already established views on motivation, evidence of certain historical events.

Professor Gregory H. Stanton, the founder of ‘Genocide Watch’ and 10 stages of genocide.
(Credit: Genocide Watch)

N. Pankowska: Irving leads death camps tour. „Searchlight”
[Great Britain], 11.2010 – archive of NEVER AGAIN.

3.What is Holocaust distortion and how does it differ from denial?

Holocaust denial is outright denial that the Holocaust happened; distortion, however, is more complex and more difficult to recognise. It is a phenomenon of distorting and manipulating historical facts. Distorters’ arguments and tactics vary, depending on a country’s historical, social and political background, and particularly its experiences during and after the Second World War: Was it a perpetrator state? Was it occupied by the Nazis or a member of the Axis Alliance? Was it neutral, or an Ally?

Holocaust trivialisation is another form of distortion. It involves using Holocaust terminology and symbols to banalise the Holocaust. Trivialisation might involve one or more of the following: 1) comparing the Nazi Holocaust to a much less severe event, or regularly occurring events; 2) reducing Holocaust resisters or those who rescued Jews to patriotic clichés, or instrumentalising them for nationalistic or ideological purposes; 3) describing any problematic or unfair behaviour as equivalent to Nazism; or 4) diminishing the importance of the Holocaust and its significance as an essential component of modern Jewish and global history.  

Comparisons of the Holocaust and other Nazi atrocities with conflicts in the Middle East exemplify another type of Holocaust distortion; one that is frequently motivated by antisemitism (a hatred against the Jews and the Jewish state, Israel) and can result from a lack of knowledge on the Holocaust and its context. In some cases, it can be categorised as Holocaust inversion, in which Jews are falsely accused of committing crimes similar to, or even more serious than, those to which they were subjected. 

The production and trade of Holocaust souvenirs for profit also constitutes a dangerous form of commercialisation and trivialisation.

Learn more about this and other forms of distortion in the IHRA publication.

While the events of the Holocaust have been discussed more frequently in the West since the 1970s, the subject has become a challenging one in Central and Eastern Europe since the fall of communism. There, re-examination of the past has been accompanied by victimhood rivalries and various types of Holocaust trivialisation and distortion, which filled the vacuum after the disintegration of those nations’ grand narrative of national history.

Professor Michael Shafir highlights the prevalence of ‘selective negationism’ in countries (such as Romania) that collaborated with or were occupied by the Nazis in Central and Eastern Europe; its advocates ‘do not deny the Holocaust as having taken place elsewhere, but exclude any participation of members of one’s own nation or seriously minimise it,’. Another form defined by Shafir in the region is the ‘comparative trivialisation’ of the Holocaust. It aims to demonstrate that the ‘Holocaust was neither unprecedented as a genocide in history nor the most murderous among twentieth-century atrocities,’.

Among the most recent examples of Holocaust trivialisation is the comparison by antivaccine protesters between the Nazis’ persecution of the Jews and the preventive measures of the COVID-19 pandemic. This is exemplified by the protesters’ use of Holocaust-era symbols, such as the yellow Star of David emblem, which European Jews were forced to wear by the Nazis as a method of humiliation. Anti-vaccine protesters call it a symbol of the ‘persecution’ of unvaccinated people by the rest of the world.

Professor Michael Shafir is one of the leading scholars of antisemitism and the treatment of the Holocaust in Central and Eastern Europe.

Example 2. Figurine of a “greedy Jew” sold in Poland: an example of commercialization of antisemitic stereotypes
(Credit: Archive of NEVER AGAIN)

Example 1. Usage of Holocaust-era yellow Star of David badge which European Jews were forced to wear by the Nazis by Anti-vax protesters. (Credit:

Recommended Reading:

  • Read one of the leading Holocaust scholars and the Honorary Chairman of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, Professor Yehuda Bauer’s article, Creating a «Usable» Past: On Holocaust Denial and Distortion, in which he discusses the concept of a usable past and how it functions to support nationalistic agendas. Professor Bauer discusses the distinctions between denial and distortion, historical roots of denial. The essential background to the current rise in Holocaust distortion, he says, is “the rise of authoritarianism, populism, dictatorial regimes,
    nationalism, and anti-liberalism that has been sweeping the world for the past two decades or so.”
  • Learn more examples of Holocaust distortion from Understanding Holocaust Distortion – Contexts, Influences and Examples.

Questions for Critical Thinking:

  • Can the silencing of certain themes or aspects of national history be a form of Holocaust/ genocide denial?
  • What are common features and arguments of Holocaust and genocide distorters?
  • What is the role of nationalism in genocide denial and distortion?

4. Holocaust distortion in Eastern Europe Critical Debate

Over Jan T. Gross’s books

Early 2000s

Polish–American historian and Professor at Princeton University, Jan T. Gross played a crucial role in the process of dealing with the past and countering distortion of the Holocaust with his seminal books, Neighbors: The Destruction of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne, Poland (Princeton, 2001); Fear: Anti-Semitism in Poland after Auschwitz (Random House, 2006), and Golden Harvest: Events at the Periphery of the Holocaust (co-authored with Irena Grudzińska-Gross, Oxford University Press, 2012). Jan T. Gross researched previously neglected topics. Each of his books represents a different facet of the debate.

In Neighbors—which first was published in the Polish language in 2000, and the next year in English—Gross describes an anti-Jewish pogrom that occurred on 10 July, 1941 in Jedwabne, a small town in Eastern Poland. Polish inhabitants of Jedwabne and surrounding villages began to herd Jews from the town to the market square. There, the Jews were beaten and humiliated, and several of them killed. Later, all of the Jews who remained in the market square were rushed to a single barn, which was then soaked in paraffin and set alight. Germans were in the town, but did not directly participate in the pogrom.

Through Neighbors, Gross sparked a national discussion on the relationship between Jews and their Christian neighbours, antisemitism, and wartime violence against Jews in Poland and in other parts of Nazi-occupied Europe. The book also draws attention to the story of an ordinary community in the circumstances of war, destruction and brutalisation (Polish society itself was ruthlessly occupied by Nazi Germany during the Second World War).

Questions for Critical Thinking:

  • Can the silencing of certain themes or aspects of national history be a form of Holocaust/ genocide denial?
  • What are common features and arguments of Holocaust and genocide distorters?
  • What is the role of nationalism in genocide denial and distortion?

Professor Jan Tomasz Gross.
(Credit: Princeton University)

The debate divided Polish society deeply, and the book was met with both positive and negative reactions. Hundreds of anti-Gross publications appeared in subsequent years. Distorters accused Gross of generalisation, exaggeration of the facts, anti-Polonism and of being unacademic. They expressed competitive victim claims by emphasising the facts of ethnic Poles’ suffering during the Second World War, denied the participation of ethnic Poles in anti-Jewish violence and focused exclusively on German guilt in the Jedwabne pogrom (selective negation).

Nevertheless, the Polish government commissioned an investigation led by the Institute of National Remembrance (IPN), which confirmed that Poles had participated directly in the pogrom.

A Polish journalist, Anna Bikont conducted her own investigations and interviewed residents of Jedwabne; in 2004, she published the book, My z Jedwabnego (‘Jedwabne: Battlefield of Memory’).


The theatre production, Nasza klasa (‘Our Class’) about a group of Polish and Jewish classmates and neighbours in Jedwabne since 1925 was written by Tadeusz Słobodzianek and performed in Polish theatres. It was the first play to discuss Jedwabne’s atrocity and was inspired by Jan T. Gross’s Neighbors.


Neighbors inspired similar debates in other parts of Eastern Europe, including in Romania, Moldova and Lithuania—although their historical contexts differed. In 2012, Moldovan writer, Nicoleta Esinencu—who had learned of the Holocaust in her home country while in her late twenties in Germany—wrote and presented her play, Clear History about Romanian dictator and ally of Hitler, Ion Antonescu and the tragic fate of the Jews and the Roma people under his rule.

Moldovan historian, Diana Dumitru, who wrote a book on the role of the local population in the Holocaust in Romania, The State, Antisemitism, and Collaboration in the Holocaust: The Borderlands of Romania and the Soviet Union (2018) stated that she was inspired by Jan T. Gross’s writings—in particular, Neighbors.

Anna Bikont. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Polish (Jewish and Christian) schoolchildren with their teachers, Jedwabne, Poland, 1933. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons, source:
Jewish Historical Institute)

The monument in Jedwabne was unveiled in 2001 and it was accompanied by Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski’s apology for the massacre of Jews in Jedwabne. The monument has the inscription: In memory of Jews from Jedwabne and its surroundings, men, women, and children, co-owners of this land, murdered, buried alive on this site on 10 July 1941. Jedwabne 10 July 2001.’ It replaces a smaller one built in the 1960s blaming ‘Gestapo and Nazi soldiers’ for the killing and burning alive of 1,600 Jews in the village in 1941. (Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

’Clear History’ performance.
(Credit: Archive of theatre “Spalatorie”, Chisinau, Moldova)

In Lithuania, a famous Nazi-hunter and descendent of Holocaust victims, Efraim Zuroff and a writer and descendent of Nazi collaborators, Rūta Vanagaitė jointly researched and published the book, Our People. Discovering Lithuania’s Hidden Holocaust about the role of locals in the mass murder of Jews and Lithuanian officials’ attempts to conceal the complicity of local collaborators.

In his second book, ‘Fear. Anti-Semitism in Poland Shortly After the War’, Gross brought another bloody pogrom to the fore, which had occurred in Kielce, Poland in 1946. Only ten percent of Polish Jews had survived the Holocaust. They began returning to their former homes, most of which had already been occupied by Poles. Jews were falsely accused of blood libel; some were murdered and beaten, and others decided to leave Poland permanently. The book tackles stereotypes, antisemitism and post-war brutalisation.
Learn more about the Kielce pogrom: The USHMM about the Kielce pogrom


In 2017, NEVER AGAIN and its partners translated and published the book, Golden Harvest: Events at the Periphery of the Holocaust (2011) by Jan T. Gross into the Russian and (partially) Romanian languages. The book discusses the story of Polish peasants who scavenged for gold teeth and other treasures from the ashes of the murdered Jews at Treblinka death camp. It is a story of hatred, persisting antisemitism and greed.

More: NEVER AGAIN support Holocaust awareness in Eastern Europe.
The translated book was launched in Moldova. It aimed to inspire the Moldovan public to discuss its own history more critically

Nicoleta Esinencu is a Moldovan playwright and theatre founder and director. (Credit: Spalatorie)

Jan T. Gross sharing his experience of Polish debates with Moldovan academics, students, and civil society. Chisinau, 2017. A series of events was organised by the NEVER AGAIN Association with the support of Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Moldova.
(Credit: NEVER AGAIN Association)

Listen to Jan T. Gross’s lecture at Moldova State University 14.09.17 (with introduction of Rafał Pankowski):

Watch Jan T. Gross’s presentation at the conference organised by the Liberation War Museum (Bangladesh) and NEVER AGAIN 12.03.2021:

Why is the debate about Gross’s books important?

  • The debate revealed the complexity of the Holocaust perpetrated on Polish soil by Germans, when Poles held a variety of attitudes to the Jewish fate, ranging from compassion through indifference to hatred.
  • The debate also contributed to changing Polish understanding of the Second World War and of society’s need to remember the Holocaust from the perspective of its victims.
  • The debate contributed to reconciliation between Poles and Jews in post-Communist Poland. Many Poles began to look critically at aspects of their past and identity.
  • The debate increased the number of initiatives directed at constructing a pluralist and historically conscious society in Poland.


Jan T. Gross’s writings inspired other scholars and teachers in Eastern Europe. In the photograph, Moldovan history teacher, Natalia Caraion from Olanesti village in Moldova presenting flowers to Professor Jan T. Gross during his book presentation. (Credit: NEVER AGAIN Association)

Questions for Critical Thinking:

  • How do human relations change in wartime, and what impact can it have on minorities?
  • How can new research be helpful in the process of dealing with the past and contribute to critical debates? What challenges might that entail?
  • What would such a debate mean in Cambodia, Myanmar and Thailand, with their diverse populations and where there are many ‘neighbours’?
  • Can such a debate counter distortion of the Holocaust and other atrocities?

5. Is the Holocaust comparable? How can we avoid banalisation, instrumentalization of victims, trivialisation in comparison?

The Holocaust is often considered the paradigmatic genocide; the one that is bestpositioned to help teachers and students understand other genocides and mass atrocities. It has been used as a starting point to discuss human rights violations and other contemporary sensitive issues in various contexts. One leading Holocaust scholar, Professor Yehuda Bauer argues that the Holocaust is a unique and unprecedented event— even if it shares some of its features with other genocides, such as ‘a powerful genocidal central power, military supremacy, a war situation, and the economic utilisation of Jewish slaves before their annihilation,’. Bauer explains why:

  • During the Holocaust, factories were built to produce corpses for the first time in history. The purpose of those factories was to murder Jews.
  • The aim of the Nazis was to kill every single Jew on Earth.
  • The Holocaust was the first genocide to be committed for purely ideological motives. The ideology behind killing all Jews was not based on pragmatism nor economic intentions.

Professor Bauer also states that the Holocaust as a genocide must be compared with other genocides, and that the universal dimension of comparability should concern everyone. No understanding of other genocides can exist without comparison. Comparison can help unrecognised genocides, such as the Rohingya genocide and the Bangladesh genocide of 1971, to become recognised. It is imperative that we understand that it did not happen only to ‘us’. Victims of genocide understandably perceive their experiences as unique ones. Victims of genocide are not an anonymous mass, but individuals with their own stories. However, comparison can be dangerous when it pertains to the amount of suffering or the number of victims with the intention of establishing a hierarchy of suffering (competitive victimhood). Figures should not be the main point of reference in such debates. Polish–Jewish intellectual, Konstanty Gebert states that each genocide has its own name to draw attention to its uniqueness. Shoah is the Hebrew-language name for the genocide of the Jews and Porajamos is the Romani-language name for the genocide of the Roma.

Yehuda Bauer is the leading Holocaust expert and IHRA’s Honorary Chairman.
(Credit: Yad Vashem)

Learn more

Questions for Critical Thinking:

  • Why do we need to compare the Holocaust and other genocides?
  • Why is every genocide unique?

6.How can we resist Holocaust deniers?

In many European countries, Holocaust denial is forbidden by law; many have also established broader legislation against racial and ethnic hatred. While outright Holocaust denial can be condemned easily, distortion and trivialisation are more challenging phenomena, and their subtle forms should be recognised first. They are phenomena that are frequently expressed in ways that cannot be punished by the law or similar measures. This is particularly relevant for Central and Eastern Europe, where societies are struggling to come to terms with their own pasts and find new expressions of national collective memory. The arguments of Holocaust revisionism ‘help’ them to deal with feelings of guilt for the diversity of their roles in the Holocaust. A danger exists that the original Holocaust denial laws, which protect historical facts from being misused, are being rewritten by governments to preserve national narratives on the Holocaust.

Holocaust distortion can be fought through critical debates (such as the ones surrounding Jan T. Gross’s books) through developing critical thinking, and through supporting Holocaust research and researchers in the lands where it happened to investigate previously neglected issues. Education and awareness-raising campaigns similar to those led by the NEVER AGAIN Association are also of great importance.

Learn more about global efforts to combat Holocaust denial and distortion on IHRA’s websites:

Professor Deborah Lipstadt, Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies in Emory’s Tam Institute for Jewish Studies and the Department of Religion and a renowned scholar of the Holocaust and modern antisemitism.
(Credit: Wikimedia Commons)


In 1998, the best-known Holocaust denier, David Irving sued American scholar, Deborah Lipstadt and Penguin publishing house, claiming that they had libelled him in Lipstadt’s book, Denying the Holocaust. Irving used the libel laws of the United Kingdom to file a suit for defamation. In her book, Lipstadt accused Irving of misrepresenting the evidence and called him, among other things, ‘one of the most dangerous spokespersons for Holocaust denial’. She also highlighted his links with neo-Nazi figures and organisations. David Irving’s purposes were to silence criticism and to publicise his ideas more widely via the court case. Holocaust deniers appeal to freedom of speech in cases of refusal to present and discuss their ideas on an equal footing with others. As a result of the work of Lipstadt and other historians, Irving’s suit was dismissed. In November 2005, David Irving was arrested when he travelled to Austria to deliver a lecture to a far-right student group. He was accused of denying the existence of gas chambers at Auschwitz during a speech he had delivered and a subsequent interview in Austria in 1989. He spent a year in prison there before being granted early release.

Watch a 2016 biographical movie ‘Denial’ directed by Mick Jackson and written by David Hare, based on Deborah Lipstadt’s 2005 book ”History on Trial: My Day in Court with a Holocaust Denier”. It presents the Irving v Penguin Books Ltd case, in which Lipstadt, a Holocaust scholar, was sued by Holocaust denier David Irving for libel:

Questions for Critical Thinking:

  • Do you know any example of the countering of denial and distortion of atrocities in your own country?
  • What are the main challenges in countering denial and how can they be tackled?
  • How would you counter denial and distortion?

David Irving on trial in Vienna 2006.
(Credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Watch a 2016 biographical movie ‘Denial’ directed by Mick Jackson and written by David Hare, based on Deborah Lipstadt’s 2005 book „History on Trial: My Day in Court with a Holocaust Denier”. It presents the Irving v Penguin Books Ltd case, in which Lipstadt, a Holocaust scholar, was sued by Holocaust denier David Irving for libel:

David Irving met with outrage in Poland. “Searchlight”, 10.2010.

Thank you for taking the time to give us feedback on this online exhibition. Please share your thoughts, reflections and comments on this. We appreciate your cooperation.


  • Bauer, Yehuda. (2001). Rethinking the Holocaust. Haven: Yale University
  • Cohen, Stanley. (2000). States of Denial: Knowing about Atrocities and Suffering. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers
  • Cox, John, Khoury, Amal, Minslow, Sarah (ed.). Denial: The Final Stage of Genocide? (2022). New York: Routledge
  • Eaglestone, Robert. (2001). Postmodernism and Holocaust Denial. UK: Cox & Wyman Ltd
  • Father Desbois, Patrick. 2008. The Holocaust by Bullets: A Priest’s Journey to Uncover the Truth Behind the Murder of 1,5 Million Jews. New York: Palgrave Macmillian
  • Gerstenfeld, Manfred. (2009). The Abuse of Holocaust Memory. Distortions and Responses. Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs
  • Gross, Jan T. (2001). Neighbors: The Destruction of the Jewish Community in Jedwabne, Poland. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press
    (2006). Fear: Antisemitism in Poland after Auschwitz. Random House
    (2012). Golden Harvest. New York: Oxford University Press
  • Hilberg, Raul. (1961). The Destruction of the European Jews. Chicago: Quadrangle Books
  • Lipstadt, Deborah. (1993). Denying the Holocaust. The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory. The Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism
  • Kenneth, Stern. (1999). Holocaust Denial. New York: American Jewish Committee
  • Shafir, Michael. (2002). Between Denial and “Comparative Trivialization”: Holocaust Negationism in Post-Communist East Central Europe. Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, LINK
  • Sineaeva-Pankowska, Natalia. (2007). How to Understand And Confront Holocaust Denial. UNITED for Intercultural Action,LINK
  • Snyder, Timothy D. (2015). Black Earth: The Holocaust as History and Warning. Penguin
  • Pankowski, Rafal. (2000). “From the Lunatic Fringe to Academic: Holocaust Denial in Poland”. In Kate Tayler (ed.). In The David Irving trial and international revisionism. London: Searchlight Educational Trust
    Understanding Holocaust Distortion: Contexts, Influences and Examples. (2021). International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) LINK

Journal articles

  • Bauer, Yehuda. “Creating a ‘Usable’ Past: On Holocaust Denial and Distortion”. Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs, Volume 14, 2020 – Issue 2, pp. 209-227

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