Arts and Culture | Local

JFCS to screen ‘Denial,’ based on Lipstadt case

Jewish Family & Children’s Services will sponsor a free screening of the 2016 film “Denial,” starring Rachel Weisz and Tom Wilkinson, on Tuesday, Feb. 20 at 7 p.m. at the Tucson Jewish Community Center. The film recounts the true story of historian Deborah Lipstadt, played by Weisz. The screening precedes Lipstadt’s upcoming keynote speech at the JFCS  9th Annual Celebration of Caring, Sunday, April 8, at the Westin La Paloma.

Lipstadt was a professor of Holocaust Studies at Emory University in Atlanta when she was sued for libel in a British court by the infamous Holocaust denier David Irving. After a 10-week trial that attracted worldwide attention, the judge ruled in favor of Lipstadt, and found Irving to be a racist, falsifier of history and anti-Semite. The London Times, in referring to this case, wrote “history has had its day in court and scored a crushing victory.”

In a collaborative effort among Tucson Hebrew Academy, the Jewish History Museum, the Tucson J, and JFCS, local area middle school and high school students will have the opportunity view “Denial” during an educational even at the J from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. the same day. Guided discussions on historical and current-day issues of anti-Semitism, racism, hate crime, bullying and mob violence, will involve participation of teachers, history facilitators and Tucson-based Holocaust survivors.

“There are facts, there are opinions, and there are lies,” says Lipstadt. “And most importantly, truth and fact are under assault. The job ahead of us, the task ahead of us, the challenge ahead of us is great. The time to fight is short. We must act now. Later will be too late.”  Lipstadt is a Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies at Emory, frequent newspaper and journal contributor, and author of several books including the award-winning “History on Trial: My Day in Court with a Holocaust Denier,” on which the film is based.