CLE Makes History with Dr. Lipstadt

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“She wasn’t just representing herself; she was representing all Jewish people.”

In 1996, when author and historian, Dr. Deborah E. Lipstadt, was sued by right wing extremist, David Irving for libel, the Jewish Federation of Cleveland was there to help cover expenses of defending the Holocaust in British court, alongside Jewish communities across the country.

“A core operating principle of the Federation is Kol Yisrael Arevim Zeh Bazeh (All of Israel is Responsible for One Another),” said Federation president Steve Hoffman. “Through the ages, we have been looking out for our people wherever they are.”

And, so the Federation board, together with community leader Lee Kohrman and The Myers Foundation, would provide a significant amount to the cause.

“She was undertaking something for all of us,” said Kohrman. “She wasn’t just representing herself; she was representing all Jewish people.”

During the trial, Kohrman and Hoffman traveled to the London courtroom. Kohrman, an attorney himself, watched as the British lawyers defended Dr. Lipstadt. “They were brilliant. You could feel the historic nature of the trial; it was itself a marvelous thing to behold.”


Lee Kohrman

“Denial of Jewish historic connections has been long mouthed by Arafat and now UNESCO. David Irving’s denial of the Holocaust is right there on this level,” said Hoffman.

Dr. Lipstadt was vindicated in the case, as the judge, Sir Charles Gray, ruled Irving was a denier of the Holocaust.

Nearly 20 years after the trial, Dr. Lipstadt’s real courtroom drama was made into the major motion picture, Denial, in theaters now. She recently visited the Cleveland Jewish community to speak about her own “History on Trial.”

Visit our Facebook page to view photos from the event.

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