President Obama appointed Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies Deborah Lipstadt, to the United States Holocaust Memorial Council on June 7.
Lipstadt is a renowned historian who specializes in and writes about her opposition to Holocaust denial — the act of denying that the Holocaust happened. Additionally, she has published articles and books pertaining to specific Holocaust trials. She has been studying the Holocaust for over 30 years and has published four books related to the Holocaust.
The council consists of 55 citizens appointed by the President, five members of the Senate, five members of the House of Representatives and three ex-officio members from the Departments of State, Education and Interior, according to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum website. The U.S. President appoints those who are particularly accomplished in their respective fields.
Lipstadt served two terms for the council under the Clinton administration and said the selection process for the current council was equally as lengthy and tough as the previous selection process she underwent years ago.
“I had a long ‘paper’ trial” Lipstadt wrote. She explained that the White House called to notify her of the President's nomination. Subsequently, a selection committee reviewed all her publications, as well as op-ed pieces that have been written about her work.
As a member of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council, Lipstadt explained she will help oversee the activities of the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum located in Washington D.C. while still residing in Atlanta to continue her tenure at Emory.
The council members ensure that the national museum's operations run smoothly, with accurate and effective presentations of historical events for the public, according to Lipstadt. Lipstadt added that as a member of the council, her responsibility will not be to micromanage but to oversee the broad range of activities of the museum.
Although Lipstadt has been involved with the museum in different capacities throughout the past, she explained that her personal goal as a member of the council is to retain its “laudatory level” of work and to help the institution adhere to its “exceptionally responsible and careful” operations in sharing stories of the Holocaust with the public. Her position started upon her appointment in June.
Following the announcement of her appointment to the council came an influx of accolades from fellow family members, friends, and faculty, she explained. Lipstadt wrote that congratulations students and colleagues contacted Lipstadt to congratulate her.
“It was quite gratifying,” Lipstadt noted.
Lipstadt recently published "The Eichmann Trial" in March, which covers the trial of Adolf Eichmann, one of the organizers of the Final Solution. She currently serves the Jewish Council for Public Affairs, the American Academy of Jewish Research, and has appeared in national media outlets including BBC, Good Morning America, and National Public Radio. Lipstadt additionally helped design the section of the U.S. Holocaust Museum devoted to the American response to the Holocaust.
— Contact Yaesul Park.