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Introductory Remarks at The Eichmann Trial Event With Deborah Lipstadt

Michael H. Posner
   Assistant Secretary, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
Hannah Rosenthal
   Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism 
Hosted by Special Envoy Hannah Rosenthal
Remarks as Prepared for Delivery
Washington, DC
April 11, 2011


ASSISTANT SECRETARY POSNER: Ladies and gentlemen, members of the diplomatic corps, esteemed colleagues and members of the press, thank you for joining us to mark this historic occasion.

Fifty years ago today, an Israeli tribunal in Jerusalem began the trial of Adolf Eichmann, the logistical mastermind of Jewish deportation to ghettos and death camps during the Holocaust.

The trial concluded a seven-year hunt for Eichmann’s whereabouts, leading members of the Israeli Mossad from Germany to Argentina.

The trial’s survivor testimonies, as Deborah Lipstadt observes in her superb history of the trial, “transformed…the public’s consciousness” of the destruction and devastation of the Holocaust.

“The trial and the debate that followed,” Professor Lipstadt writes, “inaugurated a slow process whereby the topic of the Holocaust became a matter of concern not only to the Jewish community but to a larger and broader realm of people.”

For advocates of universal human rights, like my colleagues in the Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, the Eichmann trial was a historic moment for the advancement of human rights, international justice, and the pursuit of historical truth.

Accordingly, it is our pleasure to host this important talk with Deborah Lipstadt, the Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies at Emory University and, most recently, the author of The Eichmann Trial.

Hannah Rosenthal, the Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism, will moderate today’s discussion. Prior to her service at the State Department, Special Envoy Rosenthal served as the Executive Director of the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, as well as the Chicago Foundation for Women. Special Envoy Rosenthal served as the Midwest regional director for the Department of Health and Human Services during the Clinton administration.

A daughter of a Holocaust survivor, Special Envoy Rosenthal has led a life marked by activism and a passion for social justice.

Please join me in welcoming Special Envoy Hannah Rosenthal.

SPECIAL ENVOY ROSENTHAL:  Ladies and gentlemen, members of the diplomatic corps, esteemed colleagues and members of the press, thank you for attending this important event.

It is my pleasure to introduce Professor Deborah Lipstadt, the Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies at Emory University, who is joining us today to talk about her new book, The Eichmann Trial.

Professor Lipstadt represented President George W. Bush as a member of the official American delegation to the 60th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, and has served as an adviser to the Department of State on matters of international religious freedom.

In addition to her work with the U.S. Government, Professor Lipstadt is one of the United States’ foremost experts on Holocaust studies, anti-Semitism, and, in particular, Holocaust denial.

Since releasing her first full-length study of Holocaust denial, Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory, Professor Lipstadt has become a public champion of historical truth, and a powerful force for combating anti-Semitism and bigotry at home and abroad.

Her libel trial against British Holocaust denier David Irving, documented in her 2005 book History on Trial: My Day in Court with David Irving, raised the international profile of Holocaust denial—the London Times described the trial as “history has had its day in court and scored a crushing victory.”

With the release of her new book, marking the 50th anniversary of Adolf Eichmann’s war crimes trial in Jerusalem, Professor Lipstadt contributes her passion for historical truth to the complex literature on the trial.

Please join me in welcoming her, as well as her family and colleagues, to the Department of State. Thank you.

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