He denied the Holocaust and got away with it. Until one woman fought back.
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Participant Media Denial

“[In] ‘95 I got a letter ... that David Irving was thinking of suing me for libel, for calling him a Holocaust denier. And my first reaction was to laugh."

Those are the words of Deborah Lipstadt, a professor and expert on Jewish history, whose story is the real-life inspiration for the new film, "Denial." In 1993, Lipstadt wrote a book called "Denying the Holocaust: The Growing Assault on Truth and Memory." In it, she called a man named David Irving a Holocaust denier.

Timothy Spall as David Irving in "Denial." All images via Participant Media and Bleecker Street.  


You see, David Irving had previously denied the existence of gas chambers and asserted that the active targeting and extermination of millions upon millions of Jewish people was gravely exaggerated. He went so far as to state that Hitler himself had attempted to protect the Jewish people in the midst of these events. Irving grossly distorted history to suit the narrative of his choosing, and Lipstadt mentioned that in her work.

Lipstadt thought Irving's suit was too absurd to be taken seriously. Unfortunately, she soon realized he was very serious.

Lipstadt found herself in a defining moment of her life — should she brush off the suit and settle? Or should she take a stand, knowing that would involve lawyers, a lengthy trial in a country that's not her home, and the monumental task of, in essence, proving the existence of the Holocaust?

Lipstadt knew that, for her, there was only one option. Watch this moving clip.

In spite of the challenges that she knew lay ahead, Lipstadt decided to fight.

The case would be held in the U.K., which puts the burden of proof on the defendant in cases of libel (though there were some changes to the law in 2013). This meant that it would be up to Lipstadt and her publisher, Penguin Books, to prove that Irving’s claims about the Holocaust were false and that he was in fact a denier.

As the trial progressed, Lipstadt and her team began to feel fairly confident they would win, but one moment threw them for a loop. Lipstadt recalls, "The judge asked, 'Can one be a genuine Holocaust denier?' In other words, if you really believe it didn’t happen, is that wrong?"

Rachel Weisz as Deborah Lipstadt in "Denial."

She explains, "We were flabbergasted by that because it’s sort of, can you be a genuine racist? If you really believe people of color are lesser beings is there something wrong with that? And of course there’s something wrong with that. Because it's based on a lie."  

It was that desire to help truth prevail — and to demonstrate there are consequences for lying — that propelled Lipstadt forward.

Lipstadt didn’t want to be at the center of such a huge public battle. But when the fight arrived at her doorstep, she couldn't turn away.

"You can’t fight every battle. Because otherwise you go through life fighting. But there's certain battles you can’t turn away from. There's certain challenges you can't ignore," she said.

She knew that if she lost the case, the consequences would stretch far beyond the verdict.

"Anybody else who would have wanted to write after about these guys would have been shut down, and publishers would have been too scared to publish them," she said.

And what message would it have sent to the loved ones of Holocaust survivors?

As Lipstadt put it, she needed to fight on "behalf of people who can’t. Either because they never survived or even if they survived they don’t have the opportunity to stand up and do this."

She continued, "The most touching thing to me — and even now I can hardly all these years later talk about it without getting emotional — was the response of survivors and children of survivors."

“We thought over the course of the trial that we would win, but we never thought that we would get such a damning verdict."

The judge didn't just rule against Irving — Lipstadt recalls that in his verdict, the judge called Irving a racist and an anti-Semite, branding Irving a pro-Nazi active Holocaust denier.  

As Lipstadt put it, "The judge was really appalled by the way David Irving manipulated history. … It was all we could have hoped for and more."

Irving was ordered to pay Lipstadt's legal fees. A few years later, he was arrested in Austria and sentenced to three years in prison for Holocaust denial.

It’s not a cliché: One person really can make a difference.

Even when it's hard, even when the odds seem stacked against you, there's an intrinsic benefit in speaking up for what you know to be right. For exposing hate for what it is.

One person can make a world of difference.

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Amazon

Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

Amazon

Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


Amazon

Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


Amazon

Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


Amazon

Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

Amazon

Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

Recycled Claim Standard 100: Products with this certification use materials made from at least 95% recycled content.

Amazon

All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

Wikiimages by Pixabay, Dr. Jacqueline Antonovich/Twitter

The 1776 Report isn't just bad, it's historically bad, in every way possible.

When journalist Nikole Hannah-Jones published her Pulitzer Prize-winning 1619 Project for The New York Times, some backlash was inevitable. Instead of telling the story of America's creation through the eyes of the colonial architects of our system of government, Hannah-Jones retold it through the eyes of the enslaved Africans who were forced to help build the nation without reaping the benefits of democracy. Though a couple of historical inaccuracies have had to be clarified and corrected, the 1619 Project is groundbreaking, in that it helps give voice to a history that has long been overlooked and underrepresented in our education system.

The 1776 Report, in turn, is a blaring call to return to the whitewashed curriculums that silence that voice.

In September of last year, President Trump blasted the 1619 Project, which he called "toxic propaganda" and "ideological poison" that "will destroy our country." He subsequently created a commission to tell the story of America's founding the way he wanted it told—in the form of a "patriotic education" with all of the dog whistles that that phrase entails.

Mission accomplished, sort of.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.