Holocaust Denial and Its Extremes

Erik Bleich

in The Freedom to Be Racist?

Published in print September 2011 | ISBN: 9780199739684
Published online September 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199914579 | DOI:
Holocaust Denial and Its Extremes

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Holocaust denial laws are among the most controversial restrictions on freedom of expression because, in their strongest form, they forbid people to contest the past. The pace of limiting racist speech has been much faster in Holocaust denial laws than in any other realm. These provisions have spread quickly and have been significantly broadened since the mid-1980s. They have also been enforced with increasing penalties. Because the connection between Holocaust denial and hatred, discrimination, and violence is often less immediate than with other forms of malicious racist statements, this chapter takes a close look at these provisions. It examines the passage and expansion of laws since the 1980s, and uses the case of notorious denier David Irving as a window into how they have been enforced in a number of countries.

Keywords: freedom of speech; Holocaust-based racism; Holocaust denial; David Irving; Deborah Lipstadt; Germany; Austria; Britain

Chapter.  8433 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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