Oscar-Winning Actress Rachel Weisz Reveals Family Holocaust Story and Its Connection to Her ‘Denial’ Role
Oscar-winning actress Rachel Weisz — who plays the character of Holocaust historian Deborah Lipstadt in the newly released movie “Denial” — revealed her personal connection to the story of the film in an interview with People magazine this week.
Recounting the tale of how her eastern European Jewish parents were helped by a British pastor to escape the Nazis, Weisz said she was moved to discover that Lipstadt was not only familiar with the works of Reverend James Parkes, but taught them in her classes on antisemitism at Emory University.
Parkes, said Weisz, “got my mom and her family out [of Austria in 1939] — he saved their lives.” Lipstadt later sent one of Parkes’ books to Weisz during the filming of “Denial,” and it was used as a prop in a scene of the film.
“Denial” tells the story of Lipstadt’s high-profile fight — and ultimate victory — in a British court against Holocaust denier David Irving, whom she accused of falsifying history in her 1993 book, Denying the Holocaust. Parts of the movie were filmed at Auschwitz, where Lipstadt and her team of lawyers visited to gather information for their legal defense in Irving’s libel suit.
Weisz told Time magazine, “There was something disconnected from humanity. You stop to think, ‘How does a human get to a place where that was okay?’ A lot of people say, ‘It happened ages ago — let’s get over it.’ Historically, it’s a minute ago. My parents were children.”