“We share a commitment to throw light on the still obscured shadows of the Holocaust.”
-- Declaration of the Stockholm International Forum on the Holocaust
Since its inception in 1998, the IHRA has come a long way. Its history is outlined below in the Timeline.
7 May 1998
IHRA is established in Stockholm through the initiative of former Swedish Prime Minister Göran Persson. In conjunction with the Stockholm meeting on the Holocaust and "Tell Ye Your Children" of the Living History Project, Persson proposed to former British Prime Minister Tony Blair of the UK as well as former US President Bill Clinton that their countries join an effort to foster international cooperation on disseminating information about the Holocaust.
Government delegations from the USA, UK and Sweden held their first talks in the presence of Professor Yehuda Bauer. He was asked to become an independent Academic Advisor to this new international body.
At the conclusion of this meeting, it was agreed to "collaborate closely with NGOs and others active in disseminating knowledge about the Holocaust" as well as to "focus international cooperation on Holocaust educational activities, public activities, testimonies of survivors, to find proper ways to reach out to young people, to launch a global survey on Holocaust education to be presented in national reports and cooperation on how to use the Internet in connection with these activities."
It was decided that decisions taken by the IHRA would be done in consensus.
25 September 1998
Second Working Group meeting of the IHRA held at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) in Washington DC. In addition to Sweden, the UK and USA, two new delegations also participated in the meeting: Germany and Israel.
Chairmanship of the IHRA, now five member states, was passed from Sweden to the USA.
The Working Group agreed that the focus of the IHRA should include remembrance and research in addition to education, so adopted the full formal title of IHRA for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research.
There was agreement on a set of deliverables to be presented at the Washington Conference on Holocaust-Era Assets, including a directory of organizations involved in Holocaust education; an insert to the Swedish book "Tell Ye Your Children"; a guide to archival material; a set of suggested Holocaust education guidelines; a proposal for an International Day of Remembrance; a declaration on archival openness and a declaration on promoting Holocaust education.
Conference calls were organized among the five member countries every two weeks in an effort to coordinate efforts and review progress prior to the next meeting.
3 December 1998
Third Working Group meeting of the IHRA held at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in conjunction with the Washington Conference on Holocaust-Era Assets.
During this meeting, the following declaration was issued: "Holocaust education, remembrance and research strengthen humanity's ability to absorb and learn from the dark lessons of the past, so that we can ensure that similar horrors are never again repeated."
The declaration also noted that "we are committing our countries to encourage parents, teachers, and civic, political and religious leaders to undertake with renewed vigor and attention Holocaust education, remembrance and research, with a special focus on our own countries' histories." Other countries were called upon to strengthen their efforts in these fields and to undertaken new ones where necessary.
A declaration on archival openness and access was also issued, calling upon governments to join the IHRA "in endorsing the importance of full archival openness, and in undertaking to work toward the goal of making all documentation bearing on the Holocaust and the fate of Nazi-confiscated assets available to researchers. The adoption of December 31, 1999, as a target date to meet this goal will reinforce the commitment of humanity to learn from the history of this century as we enter a new millennium."
The first product of cooperation under the IHRA, an International Directory of Organizations in Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research, was distributed at this meeting and subsequently made available on the IHRA website. This was compiled under the leadership of the United States and Sweden with assistance from Israel and Germany.
Enlargement of the IHRA was discussed in detail since countries such as the Netherlands, France, Poland, Italy as well as others had expressed interest, either officially or informally, in joining.
At this meeting, Sweden announced its intention to host a conference that would "figure prominently on the IHRA agenda" in late 1999 or early 2000.
8-9 March 1999
Fourth meeting of the IHRA held at the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office in London. Eight national delegations were present at this IHRA meeting, including new member states: the Netherlands, Poland and France (observer status).
This two-day meeting included discussions about creating an endowment fund and a proposal for field missions (later to be commonly referred within IHRA circles as "liaison projects"). The first proposed field mission pilot outreach project was to be done in cooperation with the Czech Republic.
25 June 1999
Fifth meeting of the IHRA held in London attended by eight delegations (France was an observer). The meeting agenda included a detailed discussion proposed by the delegation of the Netherlands on liaison projects.
The first invitation to the Stockholm International Forum on the Holocaust, January 26-28, 2000 was circulated among meeting participants.
An editorial group for IHRA information projects was established, chaired by Wesley Fisher of the USHMM. In effect, this was the first-ever Working Group established under the IHRA umbrella.
6-8 October 1999
"Phenomenon Holocaust," an international conference held in Prague and in Terezin, was attended by members of IHRA delegations and the IHRA Academic Advisor.
Former Czech President Václav Havel addressed the conference participants, and following these proceedings the Czech Republic became the first liaison project of the IHRA (lead country, the Netherlands).
13-14 October 1999
Sixth meeting of the IHRA organized by the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Yad Vashem, and held in Jerusalem in conjunction with the Second International Conference on Holocaust Education at the International School for Holocaust Studies at Yad Vashem.
As agreed by consensus under the UK Chairman, this conference for educators was held under the auspices of the IHRA. Representatives from nine countries attended this two-day meeting, including a representative from the Italian Ministry of Education.
By this time, eight additional countries had expressed interest in liaison projects with IHRA member states, including: Argentina (lead country, USA); Lithuania (lead country, UK); Latvia (lead country, Sweden); Romania (lead countries, Israel, France) and Slovakia (lead country, Germany).
During this meeting, it was also decided that the Chairmanship would be extended to one year rather than rotating every few months. Due to the upcoming Stockholm Forum proceedings, it was decided that Sweden would chair the IHRA from December 1, 1999 - February 28, 2000. It was agreed that Germany would chair the IHRA from March 1, 2000.
26-28 January 2000
The Stockholm International Forum on the Holocaust was held, bringing together high-ranking political leaders and officials from more than forty countries to meet with civic and religious leaders, survivors, educators, historians and others who have dedicated their work to promote Holocaust education, commemoration and research.
Nobel Prize laureate Elie Wiesel served as the Forum's honorary Chairman and Professor Yehuda Bauer was the senior Academic Advisor to the forum.
The Stockholm Declaration, drafted by IHRA delegates, was signed by participating countries at the closing session of this conference. A copy of the declaration can be found under the “Stockholm Declaration” tab.
In addition, at the IHRA delegates meeting within the framework of this international gathering in Stockholm, the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs suggested that it would oversee the newly established IHRA endowment fund. From 2000-2005, the annual pledge of each member state was approximately US$25,000.
10-11 April 2000
Meeting of IHRA delegates in Berlin under German Chairmanship. A visit to the former Nazi concentration camp Sachsenhausen was also organized for the meeting participants.
26 July 2000
First meeting of the Academic Working Group in Berlin, chaired by Professor Yehuda Bauer.
25-26 September 2000
Meeting of IHRA delegates in Weimar in conjunction with a visit to the former Nazi concentration camp Buchenwald. The suggestion to establish a memorials Working Group was proposed during these proceedings.
By the end of 2000, daily communication between IHRA delegates was conducted via email via the IHRA listserves (administrated by the USHMM).
1 February 2001
At this meeting of IHRA delegates in Berlin, it was decided to admit Austria as the tenth member country of the IHRA as well as establish an Education Working Group (EWG).
Discussions were held concerning the first project proposal application (PPA) to the IHRA Fund, concerning a teacher-training seminar for Lithuanian and Polish teachers in Krakow. This was the first program supported with funding from the IHRA endowment fund.
2-5 May 2001
Meeting of IHRA delegates in Amsterdam in conjunction with the Amsterdam Conference on Remembrance coordinated with study trips to Westerbork, Anne Frank House and other authentic Holocaust-related sites in the Netherlands.
11-13 September 2001
First-ever three-day meeting of the Education Working Group of the IHRA in Jerusalem organized outside of IHRA Plenary sessions. Suggested IHRA guidelines for educators were formulated for the first time at this meeting. Later other meetings of the EWG, outside of Plenary, were conducted in Budapest (2003); Vilnius (2005); Zagreb (2007); and Paris (2008) and Bratislava (2009).
23-24 October 2001
Meeting of IHRA delegates in The Hague. A representative from the Council of Europe attended an IHRA Plenary session for the first time as an observer.
24-26 June 2002
Working Group and Plenary meetings take place in Paris.
The Czech Republic, Lithuania and Argentina became members during these proceedings.
15-18 October 2002
IHRA meetings in Strasbourg in conjunction with a conference, "Teaching about the Holocaust and Artistic Creation" coordinated in collaboration with the Council of Europe.
Hungary became a member of the IHRA.
Karel Fracapane, who worked under the French chair in 2002, was asked to become a fellow of the IHRA and continue his work under the US Chair. In 2006, Fracapane's title was revised, and he became the Executive Secretary to the IHRA Chair. Fracapane continued in this capacity, relocating on an annual basis, until June 2007 under the Czech Chairmanship.
11-14 May 2003
IHRA Working Group and Plenary meetings, including visit to USHMM.
The decision was taken to establish an SIWG (Strategic Implementation Working Group), including a former IHRA Chairs, Academic Advisor and Chairs of IHRA Working Groups in an effort to better prepare Plenary sessions and steer the IHRA into the future.
Luxembourg became a member of the IHRA.
11 September 2003
First meeting of the SIWG (Strategic Implementation Working Group), including former IHRA Chairs, Academic Advisor and Chairs of IHRA Working Groups.
1-3 December 2003
IHRA Liaison Working Group meetings and Plenary session take place in Washington DC.
Norway becomes a member of the IHRA, and Professor Bauer announces that he would like to begin a process to find his successor as IHRA Academic Advisor.
Original logo was created.
6-9 June 2004
IHRA Working Group meetings and Plenary session take place in Rome.
An international seminar in memory of the well-renowned author and Holocaust survivor, Primo Levi, was organized in conjunction with this meeting by the IHRA chair.
Denmark and Latvia became members of the IHRA.
12-16 December 2004
IHRA Working Group meetings and Plenary session take place in Trieste. At this meeting, Switzerland and Romania joined the IHRA. An observer from OSCE/ODIHR participated in IHRA meetings for the first time.
26-30 June 2005
IHRA Working Group meetings and Plenary session take place in Warsaw. A discussion about the urgent opening of the ITS (International Tracing Service) archives was led by the IHRA-subcommittee on the accessibility of the ITS - all Holocaust related holdings (ISAIAH) on Bad Arolsen.
Pressure by IHRA member states on the ITS, including three IHRA declarations over a period of a year (June 2004- June 2005) contributed to the opening of the Bad Arolsen archives.
At this meeting, Professor Dina Porat was appointed as the Academic Advisor to the IHRA. In addition, discussions took place in Plenary regarding changing member states' annual pledge from US dollars to Euro. By 2007, member states’ contribution to the IHRA fund was 30,000 € per year.
1 November 2005
UN Resolution 60/7, highlighting the work of the IHRA, was passed.
13-16 November 2005
IHRA Working Group meetings and Plenary session take place in Krakow, including a study tour of Auschwitz-Birkenau.
Belgium, Croatia, Greece, and Slovakia become members of the IHRA.
The IHRA Chair issued a press release expressing concern about the situation of Darfur to Juan Mendez, special UN Adviser on the Prevention of Genocide.
This was the first IHRA meeting that Professor Dina Porat attended in her capacity as Academic Advisor to the IHRA. Professor Bauer became IHRA Honorary Chairman.
24-25 May 2006
IHRA Working Group meetings and Plenary session take place in Budapest. This was the first time United Nations representatives attended IHRA Plenary meetings as observers. During these meetings, it was decided to change the name of the Information Working Group to the Communication Working Group.
3-6 December 2006
IHRA Working Group meetings and Plenary sessions take place in Budapest. The decision to create a permanent secretariat was adopted by consensus.
During this meeting, a discussion regarding a press release concerning Iran President's statements on the Holocaust was held. The declaration, released through its chair, was issued on January 5, 2007.
General obligations of countries interested in becoming members to the IHRA were adopted. Serbia became an observer to the IHRA.
10-13 June 2007
IHRA Working Group meetings and Plenary session take place in Prague. It was decided by consensus that the permanent secretariat would be established in Berlin. The Fundamental Rights Agency of the European Union (FRA/EU) became an observer to the IHRA. The Chair issued a declaration on the importance about teaching the genocide of the Roma and Sinti.
During this meeting, Spain officially became a liaison country to the IHRA and Canada and Slovenia became observer countries. The Memorials Working Group (MWG) was renamed the Memorials and Museums Working Group (MMWG).
1-2 November 2007
Special Working Group on New Challenges to the IHRA met in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.
2-7 December 2007
IHRA Working Group and Plenary sessions in Prague, including study tour of Terezin.
Estonia became a member of the IHRA and Ireland became an observer country. Dr. Kathrin Meyer was nominated as the Executive Secretary of the IHRA.
11 March 2008
IHRA Permanent Office established with a ceremony in Berlin, presided by the German Foreign Minister, members of IHRA delegations and other dignitaries.
15-18 June 2008
IHRA Working Group and Plenary sessions in Linz, including study tours of Mauthausen and Hartheim.
14-17 December 2008
IHRA Working Group and Plenary sessions take place in Vienna. The decision is adopted to establish an ad-hoc intersessional mechanism to address the questions of funding policy.
Spain became a member of the IHRA. Turkey became an observer country.
Applications to the Project Proposal Applications (PPA) funding program, which ran prior to 2010, had been received from more than 25 countries across the globe. Approximately 400 project proposals were received by the various IHRA Working Groups since 2001. More than half of all of the project proposals were reviewed by the Education Working Group.
22-25 June 2009
IHRA Working Group and Plenary sessions take place in Oslo. The Joint Working Group Subcommittee on the Roma Genocide was established.
Canada became a member of the IHRA. Finland and Ireland became liaison countries, and Portugal and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia became observer countries.
30 November-3 December 2009
IHRA Working Group and Plenary sessions take place in Trondheim. The Grant Strategy 2010-2014 was adopted. The Standing Committee on Antisemitism and Holocaust Denial was established.
UNESCO became a Permanent Observer to the IHRA.
Serbia and Slovenia became liaison countries.
24 February 2010
The IHRA Chair signed a Memoranda of Understanding with the Council of Europe. This was the first Memoranda of Understanding signed between the IHRA and one of its Permanent Observers.
14-17 June 2010
IHRA Working Group and Plenary sessions take place in Jerusalem.
21 July 2010
Memoranda of Understanding signed with OSCE/ODIHR.
13-16 December 2010
IHRA Working Group and Plenary sessions take place in Haifa.
Finland became a member of the IHRA.
Professor Steven Katz became the acting Academic Advisor.
20-23 June 2011
IHRA Working Group and SIWG/PPC sessions take place in Amsterdam.
28 November-1 December 2011
IHRA Working Group and Plenary sessions take place in The Hague.
Ireland, Serbia, and Slovenia became members of the IHRA.
The IHRA adopted a new logo designed by Daniel Libeskind.
25-28 June 2012
IHRA Working Group and Plenary sessions held in Mechelen.
Professor Steven Katz was appointed as Advisor to the IHRA.
10-13 December 2012
IHRA Working Group and Plenary sessions held in Liège.
The new name International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) was adopted.
Bulgaria became an observer country.
11-13 June 2013
IHRA Plenary meetings held in Berlin.
6-10 October 2013
IHRA Plenary meetings held in Toronto.
Working Definition of Holocaust Denial and Distortion adopted by the Plenary.
Yehuda Bauer Grant established to recognize one outstanding proposal submitted through IHRA’s Grant Programme each year.
Plenary adopted internal working rules.
Uruguay became an observer country.
IHRA Conference "Killing Sites - Research and Remembrance" held in Krakow.
IHRA Conference "The Genocide of the Roma" held in London.
IHRA Plenary meetings held in London.
IHRA established a third cross-cutting Committee, the Committee on Holocaust, Genocide and Crimes against Humanity.
The IHRA Grant Strategy 2015-2018 was adopted.
The International Tracing Service was accepted as a Permanent International Partner.
IHRA Plenary Meetings held in Manchester. Albania, El Salvador and Moldova became observer countries.
On 9 March 2015 the IHRA Handover took place in the Hungarian Embassy in Berlin. The 2015 IHRA Chair was State Secretary Szabolcs Takacs.
The IHRA Plenary Meetings take place in Budapest, Hungary.
The IHRA Plenary Meetings take place in Debrecen, Hungary.
1998 May - September, Sweden; Chair: Ulf Hjertonsson
September - December, USA; Chair: Stuart E. Eizenstat
1999 January - June, UK; Chair: Jeremy Cresswell
September - November, Israel; Chair: Shmuel Ben Shmuel
2000 December 1999 - February 2000, Sweden; Chair: Ulf Hjertonsson
2000 As of March 1, Germany; Chair: Albert Spiegel
2001 the Netherlands; Chair: Rienko Wilton followed by Frederick Racke
2002 France; Chair: Norbert Engel followed by Patrick Amiot
2003 USA; Chair: Randolph Bell followed by Edward O'Donnell Jr.
2004 Italy; Chair: Giorgio Franchetti Pardo
2005 Poland; Chair: Daria Nalecz
2006 Hungary; Chair: Balint Magyar
2007 Czech Republic; Chair: Milos Pojar
2008 Austria; Chair: Ferdinand Trauttsmansdorff
2009 Norway; Chair: Tom Vraalsen
2010 Israel; Chair: Dan Tichon
2011 the Netherlands; Chair: Karel de Beer
2012 Belgium; Chair: Jan Deboutte
2013 Canada; Chair: Mario Silva
2014 United Kingdom; Chair: Sir Andrew Burns
2015 Hungary; Chair: Szabolcs Takács
2016 Romania; Chair: Mihnea Constantinescu
2017 Switzerland; Chair: Benno Baettig
Academic Working Group
2000-2002 Yehuda Bauer, Israel
2003-2005 Juliane Wetzel, Germany
2006-2008 Paul Dostert, Luxembourg
2008-2010 Steven Katz, USA
2011 Paul Dostert, Luxembourg and Juliane Wetzel, Germany
2013 Wichert ten Have, the Netherlands
2014 Alain Goldschlager, Canada
2015 Brigitte Bailer, Austria
2016 David Silberklang, Israel
Education Working Group
2001 Shulamit Imber and Richelle Budd Caplan, Israel
2002 William Shulman, USA
2003 Paul Levine, Sweden
2004 Paul Salmons, United Kingdom
2005 Karen Polak, the Netherlands
2006 Claude Singer, France
2007 Wolf Kaiser, Germany
2008 Yvonne Schuchmann, Hungary
2009 Monique Eckmann, Switzerland
2010 Werner Dreier, Austria
2011 Otto Rühl, Denmark
2012 Monika Vrzgulova, Slovakia
2013 Alice Herscovitch, Canada
2014 Piotr Trojanski, Poland
2015 Alex Maws, United Kingdom
2016 Stefan Anderson, Sweden
Memorials and Museums Working Group
2002 Stephen Smith, United Kingdom
2003 Thomas Lutz, Germany
2004 Teresa Swiebocka, Poland
2005 Heidemarie Uhl, Austria
2006 Dirk Mulder, The Netherlands
2007 David Marwell, USA
2008 Magdalena Smidova, Sweden
2009 Jon Reitan, Norway
2010 François Wisard, Switzerland
2011 Karel Fracapane, France
2011-2012 Andrea Gualde, Argentina
2013 Thomas Lutz, Germany
2014 Zanet Battinou, Greece
2015 Nina Krieger, Canada
2016 Michal Vanek, Slovakia
Communications Working Group
2000-2001 Wesley Fisher, USA
2001-2003 Julie Hock, USA
2003-2006 Michelle Gross, USA
2007-2008 Bitte Wallin, Sweden
2008-2009 Hugo Poliart, Belgium
2010 Sebastian Rejak, Poland
2011-2012 Kori Street, Canada
2012-2013 Kay Andrews, United Kingdom
2014 Jane Jacobs-Kimmelman, Israel
2015 Yasmina Amire, Belguim
2016 Michael Newman, United Kingdom
2003-2005 Jan Ahlberg, Sweden
2005-present Katarina Kristensson, Sweden
Sweden - 1998
USA - 1998
UK - 1998
Germany - 1998
Israel - 1998
The Netherlands - 1999
Poland - 1999
France - 1999
Italy - 1999
Austria - 2001
Czech Republic - 2001
Hungary - 2002
Lithuania - 2003
Argentina - 2003
Luxembourg - 2003
Norway - 2003
Denmark - 2004
Latvia - 2004
Switzerland - 2004
Romania - 2004
Croatia - 2005
Greece - 2005
Slovak Republic - 2005
Belgium - 2005
Estonia - 2007
Spain - 2008
Canada – 2009
Finland – 2010
Ireland – 2011
Serbia – 2011
Slovenia – 2011