Rachel Weisz Played Historian In ‘Denial’ Movie – Then Discovered A WW2 Connection To Her Character

When the actress Rachel Weisz met the real historian Deborah Lipstadt, she hardly suspected that Deborah knew the person responsible for spiriting her parents out of Austria in 1939, saving them from the Holocaust to come.

Weisz portrays Lipstadt in the movie Denial, the story of Lipstadt’s successful court case against Holocaust denier, David Irving.

Irving took Lipstadt to court in England, accusing her of libel for calling him a Holocaust denier.

Weisz had heard about the trial but didn’t know it in great detail. A month before the movie production started, she and Lipstadt sat in her kitchen and talked for days.

Weisz told Lipstadt about her parents’ escape from Austria, and about her father’s friend Rev. James Parkes who helped them and saved their lives.

Lipstadt said she knew him.  She teaches him in her classes as one of the most important writers on British anti-Semitism.

The reverend assisted in the rescue of numerous Jews in the 1930s and during the Second World War established the Council of Christians and Jews to encourage religious acceptance, People.com reported.

When Weisz arrived on the set the first day of shooting, a book from Lipstadt was waiting for her:  she sent her one of Parkes’ books.

It was very emotional for her, Weisz said.  The man who rescued her parents is connected to Lipstadt.


Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE