On the “Auschwitz Lie”

In the November 1986 issue of the Michigan Law Review, Professor Eric Stein addressed the then-recent German legislation prohibiting the “Auschwitz lie.” The “Auschwitz lie” refers to contemporary attempts to deny the historical truth of the Holocaust.

In the time since his article was published, Professor Stein has corresponded with several European scholars on the issues raised by the 1985 legislation. That correspondence, though brief, highlights the contentious aspects of Professor Stein’s analysis; it suggests that the issues of restricting “historical speech,” promoting national consciousness, attributing collective guilt, and identifying the role of courts in punishing historical lies remain troublesome to German intellectuals. Excerpts from Professor Stein’s correspondence follow.