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tv   Amanpour Company  PBS  February 4, 2019 4:00pm-5:01pm PST

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hello, everyone. welcome to amanpour and company. here is what's coming up. as anti-semitism rears its ugly head, i travel to berlin to hear the incredible life story of this woman. her father was an infamous nazi. she devoted her life to raising up jewish rights. plus -- walter speaks with a historian who won a court battle against a holocaust denier. she puts the resurgence of hate crime into perspective. >> plus -- >> you are never too small to make a difference. >> leaving it to the children.
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the 16-year-old climate change activist. i speak with sweden's gretta tufberg. uniworld is a proud sponsor. when bea's career began, she didn't know the recipes if her cookbook would make their way to her cruise line. her cuisine is served while cruising through europe, asia, india and egypt. because according to bea, to travel is to eat. bookings available through your travel adviser. for more information visit >> additional support by sue and edgar walkenheim, judy and josh
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weston and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> welcome to the program. i'm christianna amanpour. 5% of british people don't believe the holocaust took place. 8% believe its scale is exaggerated. those are the shocking results of a poll released this year. seven decades after liberation, the few survivors gathered at auschwitz to mark the occasion. also, there were far right polish nationalists, protesting the notion that any polls collaborated with the nazis. many simply are not versed in the history. it's all the more remarkable to meet one woman who devoted her
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life to never forget. perhaps the most unlikely person to be conducting this campaign because her father was chief architect to hitler and the nazi regime's minister of armaments and war. he was tried and convicted at nuremberg. she was a kid then. she spent the rest of her life helping germany atone for its sins, even selling her father's ill-gotten art to finance that work. she's just been honored with the german jewish history hard to b you have been raised and what you do right now. let's start with right now. you recently just received a major prize here in germany for all the work you have done ainst anti-semitism and to
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promote jewish women and culture and reconciliation. how does that feel to you? what is the purpose of your work? >> well, the purpose to not forget, to know about the past, to raise consciousness about topics that have white spots and there are still some, to pick them up and enlarge knowledge. at the same time, to work for democratic society in our country and for human rights as far as you can all over. >> what was it like growing up as the daughter of albert speer? >> when i was a child, i didn't understand what was going on. i take what i saw as metro, so
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to speak. we were rather protected. so i did not have those horrible adventures and feelings many people had by the war and by later the bombing. in a way, i was protected. which looking back is not bad. later when my father was imprisoned, he has been punished for the crimes he did as minister, as part of the government. >> he was the minister of armament for hitler. he was lhitler's favorite architect. >> he was sentenced to 20 years to jail. >> you are 82 years old, i think. do you remember your mother's
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influence after your father was arrested? you were 10 years old when the nuremberg trials began. you were aware of what was happening. what was your mother's influence on your life? >> well, the main influence was that she let me free. she let me find my own ways. she did not force me or my brothers and sisters emotionally neither by words, but neither by emotions to take any kind of an ideology in our thinking. >> the national socialist party? >> yeah. >> she didn't influence you to do that in. >> no. she did not find excuses for my father to take excuses. she did not. she did not talk much about it. it's not comparable, but it's similar in a way.
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they put pressure on the kids. >> to do what? >> to accept what had been done. because their father or grandfather was involved in it. but she did not. >> that was a great gift of your mother's. >> yeah. i think it was a great gift. >> did she know what your father was doing? >> certainly. i think she was included very little by him. i think they had a kind of marriage, she was concerning for the kids and he was for -- have i no idea how or what they communicated. i have really no idea. i wonder myself. >> you were 10 years old when nuremberg trials started. they were a water dshed moment european history. they were there to hold the worst crimes under humanity accountable. but your father was one of the very rare, if not the only nazi, to apologize at nuremberg.
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he said that he didn't know what was going on. they called him the nazi who said sorry. they even dubbed him the decent nazi. do you remember the trial? did you ever go to it? >> no. we couldn't. i wouldn't. they wouldn't take me as a child. no. that would be too heavy for me. my mother was listening on the radio. sometimes we came in, but she would listen all the time. we got a lot of parts of it. since then, i think i started to know what was happening and wanted to learn more what my father did. concerning my father, he was a very friendly person to us later and when we were young. i found he was sensitive and he had a sense of humor and he was
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kind to us. and so it is even more difficult for me to understand how he could join this government and it is to my opinion, he acted as a nazi and perhaps he didn't always think like this, but it doesn't matter, because he acted or his ministry was connected with the building of labor camps. for me it's very difficult. it's very difficult all the time to understand the two sides. because i have to see those two sides that exist. of randomness and of cruelty and
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of destroying part of europe, big part destroying, big part of europe and by the war. >> and people. >> and people, yeah. murdering people all over. >> when you were listening on the radio -- i know you didn't listen to it all -- is that when your view of your father changed? >> i didn't listen. then i was 10 or 9 when it started. so i just knew that something horrible had happened. my father was part of it. >> because he always said that he didn't know about the holocaust. it turns out that a letter that was discovered in 2007, some 12
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years ago, did he did know abou. he confessed to the widow of a belgian resistant. >> i know the letter. what can i say? i don't -- i think he should have known. i think he did know. but i also think he didn't want to know. as we know nowadays, there are mechanisms in people that deny inside what they see and so on. but i don't believe that he did not know. to my opinion, he must have known what happened. but i'm sure he did not want to know and not to look into it. it's completely unlikely that he really did not know. >> you corresponded with your father throughout the years that he was in prison. >> yeah. >> what were the nature of your letters? what were you trying to find out, if anything? did you get any understand, any satisfaction? >> yeah.
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we corresponded about many things, about my studys, about what he was reading. he was reading very much. in prison, he had time. >> did you express your horror at what he had been involved in? your anger, your horror, however you felt? how did you feel? what did you tell him about what he had been involved in? >> yeah, there are situations. but i don't want to talk about it. when we really got together. >> do you feel that he answered you satisfactorily? >> yeah, in a way. he was trying to get to have a close relation to me. he was glad i would ask questions. you know? >> was he sorry? >> huh? >> was he really sorry? >> yeah.
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i believe him. >> and then fast forward all these years. in the '90s, your mother died and you inherited, among other things, three major works of art. >> at that time, i decided i didn't want to have the pictures. they were not of high value, except one. it was split between my siblings. >> why didn't you want them? >> well, i was not sure what had been the origin, who were the former owners. might have been jewish people. even if those pictures, as it turned out, seems to not have jewish owners before, i am sure my father didn't care at all. he bought it at auction. but he didn't care at all about
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the history of the things he bought, furniture and picture. >> there was a lot of looting, wasn't there? nazis looted a lot of jewish art, jewish property. >> yeah. it was sometimes looted directly. but mostly, it was sold and the money went to the state. it was -- in a way, it seemed legalized. it wasn't. in many respects. i always had the feeling that the money he earn ed with his unjustice system -- with the unjust system, then he bought art, it's all connected. so i didn't want to have it, because i felt it would take privileges myself. >> so then you decided to sell
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these and create a foundation. is that right? >> yes. with advice of friends. >> toell me how that came about >> i asked friends, female friends, who were well educated and whose advice i will treasurer. they came to my house and we sat and discussed what could we do with the money. wanted to do something useful. so it came the idea to set up a foundation. >> tell me in your words the purpose of the foundation. what made you in your heart want to create this foundation and do this work? >> there were two intentions. we thought to interlink them as much as we could. one intention was to learn awareness that lots of things have to be given back actually. >> property? >> property, not only property, but other privileges, so it
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speak, as somethibody stepped i job, a jewish person was expelled, of course it was an advantage for the family and children raising up in a good condition, better condition and so on. there are so many ways the german people profited. it's not only by property. clothes, everything. people would buy very cheaply, and it was actually, so to speak, from their neighbors. >> it was stolen. >> yeah. it was stolen. the people were deported already or sent to another town and had to leave everything. we wanted to raise consciousness about it. i must say at that time when we took up this topic, it was neither a topic in research nor in political discussion. it was very late, actually.
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it was 1995. you may imagine how much we ourselves are struck by the fact that nobody cared about it. nobody cared about it. so we took up this topic to raise consciousness on that. also bring it close to the families. have them look what is happened in their families, not like in those that now sentence, but a generation of grandparents generation, how did they behave, what advantages they took. >> all these years, it's now more than 20 years since you started your foundation. >> almost 25. this year 25. >> congratulations. do you feel that you have succeeded? do you feel like you have forced this discussion, this necessary discussion and, i guess, restituti restitution? >> yeah. i think we did contribute to a
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discussion. also in many families. we know that people came or wrote to us or told us that they had conflict in their families and different views and so on and so on. there was some opening to those questions by our foundation. >> can i ask you, you must be aware of the rising tide of nationalism around the world right now, including in your own country, the rise of extreme far right groups like alternative for deutsche land who are anti-foreigner, who have very ugly tendencies. you must be aware that anti-semitism is rising, even in the united states. apparently, the jewish population is a tiny minority in the united states but make up half the victims of hate crime. in the uk, we have learned that one in 20 people believe the holocaust didn't happen. one in 12 think that it was
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exaggerated if it did happen. what goes through your mind when you confront these statistics all these years later? >> there's not one way to act against it. there are many ways. but i think the best way is to act -- to act. perhaps i'm not modest now when i say, but like we act with our foundation. if we promote jewish women in arts and humanities here in germany now, to try to raise money to support them to work and to speak out and to do research on their family history and keep alive also the memory but also present work of living of jews identity, female identity, and all that, we show
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that we appreciate very much that they came back to germany and we hope more will come back to germany and we very much hope they will have possibility to work and live here in a good way. that's much better than talking about anti-semitism, to me. of course, you have to speak out loud whenever you see it. and i think the german state is doing rather well, actually, to not -- new tolerance against -- >> zero tolerance. >> zero tolerance. there is a consensus to this question from all parties, except the one you mention, the alternative. this is not so in all countries. if you look to some other east european countries especially, the government itself and their
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leaders themselves allow anti-semitism or sometimes even act or speak anti s-semitist. >> you mean hungary? >> i mean hungary. in our country, the government, i still think the majority of citizens are very clear about anti-semiti anti-semitism. this gives me the hope that they will succeed in putting it down again. >> you me be very, very encouraged. you are a life long green party member. you believe in that philosophy and those politics. in the recent elections in bavaria, southern germany, the afd did not do as well as it was predicted. in fact, the greens did much, much better. that must give you some hope. >> certainly.
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also, i don't agree to the position which you did not take that every -- is getting worse and worse. if you look at the numbers of people that went to side of memorizing former concentration camp or other side connected, they have -- >> increased. more and more people -- >> last year they have increased. they still increase. you cannot say there's no interest. you cannot say there's not many, many people in our country that care about the past. >> a lot of people will want to know who motivates you to do your work and to do -- to have these very important beliefs about tolerance and remembering history and all the things we have talked about. people will ask, do you feel a
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sense of guilt? is that what motivates you? >> it is a sense of collective guilt in our country, which i think it is not personal guilt, but it is the deep feeling of population and more person -- some people more, some people less became horribly guilt. and, of course, it's part -- it should be part of our identity of our understanding of our country that this could happen two generations ago, which is not much, to an extent never -- it's still unbelievable. you still always have a question, how could it happen here. of course, you have shame and the descendents have the shame.
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some at least. perhaps not my granddaughter anymore. but me, that it did happen and that it did happen in my family. i wouldn't say this is the only feeling. the other feeling is and has been right after the war, we have the chance to build up a new society. the chance was given to us very much by the americans. i gtot a scholarship to go to te united states when i was 16. was wonderful experience. we had the chance and we took it. some of us took it. many of us took it. it was very productive life also. of course, you have to be sometimes -- you are the small minority, sometimes bigger minority. never have been in the majority. i don't care about it.
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you could move society together with many others in a direction which i think is much better than what we ever had in germany. >> just toec expand on that, several years ago you said, instead of using guilt, there's a better word to describe my feelings, that's shame. only a small part of my life gets the most attention, the part that has to do with my father. i feel a strong need to create my own biography. >> that's it, definitely. >> do you feel you have? >> yes. i feel i have. of course, like getting this award, i know exactly the interest in my person is always connected with the interest in my father and the big gap between us. so sometimes i say, no, i will not respond to that anymore. i have my own biography. i'm the daughter, no, yes, yes, but he is my father, but i have my own life. then i see that it is part of my
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life to answer to those questions. at least sometimes. not always. >> that's a very good way to. thank you very much for joining me. what an incredible life. it's too easy to forget even the most monstrous history, whether it's jews will not replace us chants or political campaigns that include anti-semitic conspiracy theories. it's clear what is old is new again. historian deborah libstat has devoted her life to contesting evil in all its form. born to jewish immigrant, daughters of a german father, she's most famous for defeating david irving's suit in the high court. she's a professor and her new book is anti-semitism here and now. she tells us what we can all do
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to fight this scourge of hate. >> welcome to the show. >> thank you very much. thank you for having me. >> your book is shaped as a series of letters to two fictional people. why did you choose that? >> well, i was struggling with how to write it and how to write it in a way that would engage people and how to write it in a way that would raise concerns without sounding shrill. i struggled. then a friend said, why don't you try letters? the minute she said that, it clicked. the letters -- the two people i'm writing to, a young jewish student who is about to graduate from emory and a colleague in the law school who is non-jewish. they became stand-ins to are peopfor people. everything they ask of me are conversations and questions and e-mails i had over the past years. what is this? how do we define anti-semitism?
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is it something -- as potter stewart said about posh rnograp i know it when i see it. can we define it? i think we can define it. it's so far gotten a very -- that format has engaged people a lot. >> this new wave of anti-semitism, is it a wave that you think will recede soon? are you worried it will keep swelling? >> you know, i'm a historian. we deal in the past. we don't like to predict. if you predict, you will be wrong. when i wrote the book, the introduction of the book, i say this was a very hard book to write. i had been skullholocaust. i realized when i write about that, i'm writing about what was. now i'm writing about what is. then i go on to say in the introduction of the book that though it was hard to write, it
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was harder to finish. i had -- my editor had to drag it out of my hands. every day there was something new. a woman in paris being thrown out of the window of her apartment because she was jewish. an event in hungary, an event many poland, something in the united states. then i go on to say in the book -- it was finished in september -- that one thing i'm willing to predict is by the time this book appears, something will have happened to make it outdated. >> that was pittsburgh. >> so i can predict. what i see right now with what i call the perfect storm of anti-semitism doesn't leave me comforted. i'm not a chicken little, the sky is falling. but i'm worried. i'm worried. i hope people take action. i think we maybe can stop the shooters, like the pittsburgh guy or the people who shoot up
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synagogues or wherever it might be in other places. we can make it clear that we won't abide this kind of thing. you know, you are at a family celebration, a family dinner. someone says, look, uncle x, y, z is a racist. don't say anything. keep it friendly. you have to say something. you have to say something not because you are going to change uncle x, y, z's opinion but to telegraph to the other people, especially but not only the young people that we don't accept this. this is not how we speak. this is -- we don't allow this kind of talk. not within our confines where we can control it. i think that is really crucial. that's what i'm hoping this book will give people the ammunition to do. >> what's new about anti-semitism today? >> today we see it on the right. we see it on the left. we see it amongst islamists.
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in europe and in other places as well. it's a perfect storm in a way that we haven't seen it before. >> what's old about it? >> the charges -- the thing that anti-semitism -- it's the oldest hate. it goes back thousands of years. the charges remain the same. if you want to identify anti-semitism, you look for some sort of relationship to money. it always has to do with money. jews love money. power. nefarious use of that power. that power to use to enhance themselves at the expense of others. irrespective of whether you look at the nazis or communists or late 19th century anti-semites or back to church, you find those three themes running through.
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>> why do those persist? >> why do they persist? it's a hard question. they start, the root is in the story of the death of jesus. jesus according to the story the way it's told wanted to chase the money changers out of the temple. the jews -- he was a jew. it becomes the jews got the romans, the most powerful entity in the world, to crucify him because he was harming them. they didn't care what goodness he could have brought to the world. those things have remained constant. jews should have disappeared a long time ago. they should have integrated. they're a small number. 12 million people. they will tell you 60, 70 million. it's 12 million, maybe 13 million jews. the fact that we have been around is an anomalous thing.
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we don't disappear. that's sometimes problematic. >> let's start by talking about it on the right. you said it's a right, the left and the islamist. on the right, we see it across europe now. all over europe it's rising. especially with the nationalists, like in hungary and other places. >> poland. france. le pen was defeated. her party still existed. you saw the yellow jackets, vests. you saw outright expressions of anti-semitism. i don't know if they are on the right or left or what they are. certainly, the prime minister of huck g hungary, the polish government. he ran a campaign that was rooted in anti-semitism. his attacks on george soros. you can agree or disagree with his financial policies, his
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political inclinations. the campaign that he ran was clearly anti-semitic. it telegraphs to every hungarian, this is george soros the jew. the poles in their law, which calls for rewriting the history. you can't say any poles collaborated with the nazis. that's just not true. there were many polish rescuers. there's no question about it. the greatest number of rescuers from any one country is poland. that's where the greatest number of jews were. there were many who collaborated. we know that from the memoirs. we know that from german documents, much less from documents by jews. the poles have said that's not allowed. we see it -- >> it's not allowed to -- >> you are not lawed to say that. >> for collaborating. originally, the law made it a criminal offense. then they changed it to a civil offense. >> were you upset that netanyahu
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went along with the poles? >> i think it was a big mistake. netanyahu may be doing certain things for politics, forging closer ties with hungary. he was in israel in the summer -- i think it was june or july of 2018. netanyahu welcomed him as a great partner in the fight against anti-semitism. >> how did that make you feel? >> whatever netanyahu may be doing, this was a big mistake. more than -- that's not a trustworthy partner. not someone who engaged in this kind of thing. more importantly, israel claims to be the official protector of jews worldwide. if there's an act of anti-semitism, israel will speak out and criticize it. it often has and does.
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this was getting into bed with a very, very dangerous entity in that respect. when the poles changed the law from a criminal offense to a civil offense, the law on the holocaust and teaching about the holocaust and netanyahu embraced it as if there was great change and it was really cosmetic. historians decimated the decision. they were highly critical of it. it makes me wonder. it makes me wonder. i know when you are head of a country you can't have a pure look. you sometimes -- politics makes strange bedfellows. this was too much. >> when you see the rise of anti-semitism in europe from the populist, nationalist, far fringe right, do you think some of that has been incited by or at least given a blind eye by president trump? >> yes. yes.
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i want to make it very clear. i don't know if donald trump is an anti-semite. i highly doubt it. he has jewish children. he has jewish grandchildren who he seems to be very proud of. he has great connections with many jews. some of my best friends are jews are a cover for anti-semites. what he has done is made it comfortable to engage in rhetoric, violent rhetoric, rhetoric that is hateful. when he talked in charlottesville, there are nice people on both sides, i'm sorry, nice people do not march through a town with their hands outstretched in the nazi salute saying jews will not replace us. nice people don't march with symbols that are swastika-like. he has done this over and over again. his rants about a horde of
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refugees, we're being infiltrated, which is what prompted the guy in pittsburgh to do what he did. all those things lower the level of discourse and raise the attacks on one another. he is not helpful in this regard. the critics of this position will come back and say, he moved the embassy to jerusalem. he has so good to israel. that's true. that's true. none of it is untrue. it coexists with this other part. >> do you think anti-semitism naturally coexists with this sort of nationalism that's been rising all over europe and the united states? >> i think it does. it has a long history. i'm not against patriotism. this country has been terrific to my family. my father came here from germany before the nazis. it was successful, accomplished academically, children, grandchildren. my mother came from canada, from a family that had nothing and
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they built up a wonderful life as have so many of my relatives. nationalism suggests my country right or wrong, my country can do no wrong, my country above all others instead of a co-existence. it's a zero sum game. history shows us that jews get ground up in that kind of thing. they're an easy target. >> what was your reaction to the woman's mar women's march? >> i thought it was a great outpouring. i was disturbed by the leadership. i didn't know as much about them as i know now. i think these are leaders who first of all up until just recently, beginning of 2019, refused to acknowledge that jewish women were -- could be oppressed by anti-semitism, could be in danger because of anti-semitism, refused to include them in the group of vulnerable women. these were women who kept
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comfort with farakon, who blamed jews for introducing homosexuality, for oppressing blacks and who most recently called jews termites. he said i'm anti-termite. he said it and tweeted it. the leaders have said, we need to be educated. i'm sorry. if you need to be educated, especially as women of color and women who claim to know oppression, that it's not good to call someone termites, then i have no conversation with you. what do you do when you have termite s termi termites? you call the exterminator. i can't -- i couldn't march with someone whose political positions i agreed with but who used the n word, who talks about blacks in a derogatory fashion, african-americans or anyone from
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african fashion in a derogatories fashiderogatory fashion. how can i expect -- if you do that, i can't march behind you. >> you won a big lawsuit against david irving, a person who was a holocaust denier and wrote it didn't exist. after you won it, you were not in favor suppressing him or anybody else from saying what they wanted. >> right. he sued me for calling him a holocaust survivor. i was offered the chance to settle. i wouldn't do it. i would have had to agree that my books in which i mention him briefly would be done. i had to apologize and say -- i said to my lawyer -- to the people who my lawyer didn't want me to do it but the people who thought i should do it, i said, what would you like me to settle for, 1 million jews? certain people you can't settle
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with. we won a tremendous victory showing that he was an anti-semite, he was a racism and showing most importantly that he lied outright when he said, i have a document which shows x, y, z. not either a, b, c. it was not at all correct. >> you have been a supporter of allowing free speech even for people who are anti-semitic. >> first of all, i believe in the first amendment. the first amendment is very important. you start having people picking and choosing what can be said and what can't be said, i don't want to put in the hands of politicians the power of deciding what is acceptable and what is not acceptable. i think that also thinking strategically and not legally or morally, that when you forbid something, you turn it into forbidden fruit. you make it more appealing. i want to find out about this. why are they making it forbidden?
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why are they not lawi ingallowi read this or see this? both from a moral point of view and from a strategic point of view, i'm not against it. that's very different -- i don't want these rights to be curtailed. i don't think laws against -- i don't think laws against holocaust denial work. i understand why germany might have them, why poland might have them. it's a different story. what do they say? foolish inconsistencies -- i'm not going to be -- i'm willing to be inconsistent. i don't want politicians deciding what can and cannot be said. i think it's a dangerous situation. >> thank you so much. >> thank you. my pleasure. >> professor continues do important work. now more frigid than ant arctic.
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more than a quarter of the u.s. population experienced temperatures below zero fahrenheit. that's minus 18 celsius. with a low of 27 below zero fahrenheit, or minus 32 celsius. scientists are wary of linking any one event to climate change. but they do tell us that extreme weather of all sorts is an undeniable result of our rapidly changing atmosphere and all the fossil fuel that's pumped into it. this week, record heat in australia hit 116 degrees fahrenheit or 47 celsius. what will make humanity get its act together? maybe it is the young. from australia to switzerland to paris, this younger generation has resurrected the civil disobedience and protest marches of our parents' generation. and one young swede has been capturing our hearts and our imagination and our attention ever since the latest u.n.
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climate conference last year. she put her elders on notice. >> the year 2078, i will celebrate my 75th birthday. if i have children, maybe they will spend that day with me. maybe they will ask me about you. maybe they will ask why you didn't do anything while there still was time to act. you say you love your children above all else. and yet, you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes. >> that's gretta. she's now 16 and she's joining me from stockholm in sweden. welcome to the program. >> thank you. >> you know, you have taken the world by storm. how did you start being an activist? what was it and when was it? >> i started this summer in august.
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i sat in front of the parliament and i striked for the climate. after that, i have sat every friday. so i'm going to continue to do that until sweden is in line with the paris agreement. >> how much support do you get? do you get noticed when you are not in school and when you are sitting on the steps of the swedish parliament? >> yes. they support me and they support my message. maybe not the part of me not being at school. they help me catch up. they are supportive. >> that's great. you are not falling behind in your studies. what made you be so passionate about the environment? what was it that sparked that interest in you? >> my interest about the climate and the environment began when i was maybe 10 years old. my teachers in school told me that there's something called climate change and global warming. it's caused by humans and our behavior.
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i thought that sounded very strange. because if that was so, if there was something that big that threatened our existence, that would be our first priority. we wouldn't be talking about anything else. but it wasn't our first priority. i'm that kind of person who doesn't like when people say one thing and then do another thing. that was the case with climate change. everyone said that it is most important issue of all, and it's an existential threat, and yet they carried on like before. so i started reading about it and the more i read about it, the more i understood. once fully understand the climate crisis, you cannot un-understand. you are stuck. you have to do something about it. >> you know what? you have unstuck yourself. you have unstuck a lot of people and made them aware of this crisis in a way that they perhaps weren't before listening to you. you made a big splash in poland.
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you made a big splash at davos. i want to play this clip of you addressing all these world leaders at davos. >> adults keep saying we owe it to the young people to give them hope. but i don't want your hope. i don't want you to be hopeful. i want you to panic. i want you to feel the fear i feel every day. then i want you to act. i want you to act as if you would in a crisis. i want you to act as if the house was on fire. because it is. >> do you write your own speeches? it's really quite incredible the words you use and the logic you use. you use a logic that you would think adults would use. but they don't. yet, you are completely clear from a to b to c. >> yes, i write my own speeches.
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since i know that a lot of my speeches will be listened to by many, many people, i have to have some people who have input. i also ask scientists sometimes like, is this correct? how would you put that in phrase? so i get help from people when i ask for help. >> what you do is you take the facts, not just what you believe or what you don't believe, but you take the facts and you try to make people aware of them. i want to ask you about your own self and what it is about your brain and the way you see things and the way the wires are connected in your brain that allows you to put these pieces together and speak in such a logical way. you have talked about being diagnosed on the as burger
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syndrome? >> yes. i work -- my brain works different. i see things like black and white and i'm very logic. i like logic and so on. i see the world a bit different. >> so it's helpful for you. this unique way that you think is incredibly helpful for you in trying to put across a very clear message. is that right? >> yes. i think so. because if i wouldn't have been so strange, then i would have been caught up in the social game everyone else seems so front ofont of. >> i love what you are saying. it it's interesting to hear you speak like that. i wonder what the world leaders think. do they treat you like an adult? what reaction do you get after going on stage and telling them off? >> i often get nervous laughter.
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they don't know how to react. that is fun in a way but they respect me. yeah, they treat me well. >> that's good to hear. what about your parents? how have they reacted? how have they adapted to this incredible activism that you are now spearheading? >> when i first told them about this school strike idea, they weren't very fond of it. they say, are you sure you want to do this? is there any other way you can make your voice heard? then i said, no, i'm going do this. i had made up my mind. they said, if you are going to this, you are going to have do this all by yourself. we aren't going to help you. i mean, they understand why i'm doing it. they can't stop me from doing it. >> have they changed their habits?
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i think i read that your mother -- i think it's your mom who doesn't fly on planes anymore? or am i thinking of somebody else? >> my family has stopped flying. my mother, she was an opera singer. she had to fly to be able to do concerts and to work. she kind of had to change career. i made her change career because my parents were standing up for human rights and so on. then i said, whose human rights are you standing up for while you live that lifestyle? >> there are other young people as well who are sort of coming up through the activism ranks. there's milo, age 9, who started the anti-straw movement. did he he did an interview in 2011. listen to this. >> sometimes i think we forget that every straw we use, every piece of plastic, will be here
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on earth somewhere even when my grandchildren are born, long after that. i think we should live our lives in a sustainable way so that we leave only good impacts on the earth. >> how do you feel about listening to him? he is a lot younger than you now. you are 16. you just turned 16. he was 9 at that time. what do you think it is that is making children essentially teach us a lesson and show us the way? >> i think that with children, we understand this in a way that adults don't. i think that many children are sort of understand this and they understand if they get all the information needed, they will do what was required from them. they would stand up and make their voices heard. i think that young people, we need to realize that our future is at risk and we need to take
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action and hold the older generations accountable for what they have done to us. >> i think you also talked about what the solution is. people say, we must go and do gure out the solution.try to what's your answer to that? >> we need to understand that we are in a crisis. and then act from that. because in a crisis, you change your behavior. you change your way of thinking. we need to see the climate crisis as a crisis, which we don't do now. we don't treat it as a crisis. once we do that, we adapt. humans are very adaptable. some people say there's no black and white issue. that is not true. the climate crisis is black and white. because either we start a chain reaction beyond human control or
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we don't. either we stop the emissions or we don't. that is as black or white as it gets. there are no gray areas whether it co wheth when it comes to survival. >> is this your life's work? >> i hope so. hopefully, i won't be doing this too long because that means everything is fixed. i probably will be doing this for a long time. >> very well said. thank you for joining me. >> thank you. >> it's an incredible example for everyone who wants to make the world a better place. that's it for our program tonight. thank you for watching amanpour and company on pbs. join us next time. uniworld is a proud sponsor. when bea's 60-year culinary
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career began, she didn't know the recipes from her cookbook would make their way to her cruise line. it's served while cruising through europe, asia, india and egypt. according to bea, to travel is to eat. bookings available through your travel adviser. visit >> additional support has been provided by bernard and irene swartz, sue and edgar walkenheim, the jpb foundation and by constructions to your pbs station from viewers like you. thank you. >> you are watching pbs.
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