“We share a commitment to commemorate the victims of the Holocaust and to honour those who stood against it.”
-- Declaration of the Stockholm International Forum on the Holocaust
Visit www.ushmm.org or explore the links on this page for more information about the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum and its initiatives.
For more information, see Antisemitism: A Continuing Threat. Listen to Voices on Antisemitism, an audio series and podcast service that features a broad range of perspectives about antisemitism and hatred today. Join us every other week to hear a new program.
For Teachers: Teaching about the Holocaust
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has many resources for teachers striving to help students learn the history of the Holocaust and reflect upon the moral and ethical questions raised by that history. Browse resources for teachers
Resources for planning a Remembrance day commemoration.
Responding to Genocide Today
From Memory to Action: Meeting the Challenge of Genocide
The Museum's online encyclopedia contains articles, film, photographs, individual histories, survivor testimony, chronologies, maps, artifacts, music, and links to resources about major topics. Portions have been translated into other languages including Arabic, Farsi, Urdu, French, Spanish, Turkish, Russian, and Portuguese. Browse the encyclopedia
The United States Holocaust Memorial Museum has made the creation of a multi-language Holocaust Encyclopedia and a variety of related materials on other relevant topics and themes - a Global Classroom - one of its top priorities. Explore the links below to browse material in the following languages:
The United States has been deeply committed to the goals of the Task Force throughout its first decade of existence. At its inception, there was a growing awareness among political leaders that teaching the lessons of the Holocaust could help counter disturbing trends of Antisemitism and intolerance. The Stockholm Declaration rightly set the course for the future work of the Task Force and served as the basic document of core principles. As Task Force members, our actions and attitudes continue to be touched by this document. Studying the myriad aspects of the Holocaust and keeping its reality in the foreground, has given us an effective antidote to fight contemporary intolerance, xenophobia, and genocide.
Ambassador J. Christian Kennedy
Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues, Department of State
|Following Göran Persson's initiative, and with Yehuda Bauer's guidance, the United States joined Sweden and the United Kingdom to establish the Task Force in 1998. In addition, the United States chaired the Task Force in 2003 and has hosted numerous seminars and mentored several applicant countries as they prepared themselves for full Task Force membership.
The United States' delegation to the Task Force is composed of governmental representatives from the European Bureau of the Department of State, noted Holocaust educators, academics and experts in the field of memorials.
While the Holocaust was not perpetrated on American soil, the United States has been refuge and home to hundreds of thousands of its survivors. That is one reason why public awareness is at a relatively high level. Our membership in the Task Force assists in our engagement with the Congress and with our public as we continue to address pending Holocaust issues while also remembering the millions of Holocaust victims. The Task Force has accomplished a great deal in its first decade. Thousands of teachers, students and society at large have been exposed to Holocaust history because of the Task Force. National governments have been sensitized to the requirements inherent in the Stockholm Declaration. Second World War-era archives have been opened to the public, revealing new information, and serious new academic research has been made possible. The Task Force, through its Chair country, has spoken out against contemporary outrages like Holocaust denial and the genocide in Darfur. As the Task Force enters its second decade, the United States renews its commitment and pledges its active participation in all three fields of our mission and work. The collective challenge is to ensure that our focus remains consistent with the Stockholm Declaration and that our standards remain high as our membership expands. Our activities and projects should continue to be designed around the reality of the Holocaust, keeping the memory of its countless victims in the foreground as we seek to educate our citizens to the dangers of hatred and Antisemitism.
The delegation's engagement in Task Force issues is supported by effective, long-standing participation from the following notable Holocaust-related institutions:
The United States has fully participated in all activities of the Education Working Group (EWG) since its inception during the Dutch Chairmanship in 2001. Our representatives, who are recognised experts in the field of Holocaust education, have served as mentors for new members and have provided much needed continuity as the Task Force grew from a handful of members to its current strength of 26.
U.S. representatives were in the fore as the EWG developed and refined its criteria and its workload dramatically increased. We have been particularly active in assisting applicant countries and new members in preparing detailed Project Proposal Applications for peer review. In 2004, we initiated a teacher training program for Latin American teachers in conjunction with the Association of Holocaust Organisations and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. To date, over 100 master teachers have participated in this program. The Department of State, together with the aforementioned organisations, has also sponsored high school teachers, mainly from Eastern European countries, in a week-long training programme each summer for the past seven years. To date, approximately 150 teachers have participated in this program.
The United States has served as the liaison country for several applicant countries. In light of this special responsibility, our work on educational reform, improving curriculum materials and supporting educational projects has been particularly intense in these cases.
The United States was one of the first countries to legislate an annual national day of remembrance for the victims of the Holocaust. In the report of the President's Commission on the Holocaust, Commission Chairman Elie Wiesel recommended that the United States establish an annual commemoration enshrined in law, and the President's Commission held its first national memorial event in April, 1979. By charter of the U.S. Congress, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum is responsible for leading the observance of Days of Remembrance, the nation's annual weeklong commemoration of the victims of the Holocaust. Coinciding with Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom Hashoah), the Museum's commemoration since 1981 has culminated with a special ceremony in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda, with Holocaust survivors, liberators, members of Congress, White House officials, the diplomatic corps, and community leaders in attendance.
The Holocaust Museum also encourages observance of the Days of Remembrance throughout the United States, and every state and many local governments and military bases organise local and regional commemorations in schools, churches, synagogues and civic centers. In addition, many local Holocaust museums and educational institutions work closely with Jewish communities throughout the country to organise annual commemorations involving Holocaust survivors, liberators and community leaders.
On International Holocaust Remembrance Day (January 27th), many Holocaust memorials and educational institutions conduct a commemoration in their communities. In Washington, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum organises a special commemoration with Holocaust survivors and the Diplomatic Corps.
In addition to its active promotion of valuable research relating to the Holocaust, the United States has taken a leadership role on several important initiatives whose origin can be found in the deliberations of the Academic Working Group (AWG). First and foremost is the intensive and successful campaign to open the archives of the International Tracing Service (ITS) in Bad Arolsen, Germany.
Efforts to open this repository, the largest, unopened Holocaust-era archive, were initiated in June, 2004 by a U.S. representative in the AWG. A total of three unanimously-approved resolutions by successive plenary meetings calling for the immediate opening of Bad Arolsen constituted a significant step in a combined governmental and NGO campaign. The success of this effort is one of the major accomplishments of the Task Force and will result in the digitalisation and transfer of some 125 million images by the end of 2010 to several major Holocaust archives around the world. In addition, Bad Arolsen has now adopted a new, open policy towards both those seeking to do research, and those seeking more personal information.
The opening of Holocaust-era archives is one of the major components of the Stockholm Declaration. The successful resolution of the Bad Arolsen collection has led to increased focus on archives in both member and non-member countries and a requirement for members to submit country reports on archival issues. These reports, taken together, represent the first meaningful, if still incomplete, survey of archival resources in Europe and elsewhere.
U.S. representatives to the AWG have also pressed for support for nascent Holocaust study centers in Bucharest and Vienna. The U.S. delegation welcomes the convening of Holocaust-related conferences, especially a newly-organised yearly meeting on "New Research", supported in part by the AWG. The U.S. will lend this effort every support possible.