Introduction

Reflections on a Chairmanship

 

 

In March 2016 I took on the role of Chair of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. This role has been both a great honor and a great challenge. Throughout my chairmanship I was delighted to have contributed to the adoption of a working definition of antisemitism, to have worked towards the protection and preservation of sites such as Lety in the Czech Republic and Staro Samijste in Serbia and to have held a timely conference on refugee policies from the 1930s to the present day together with the Holy See.

We should celebrate these IHRA achievements but we cannot forget that they occur against the backdrop of rising populist rhetoric, antisemitism, and increasing hate speech. You know, as I do, that we have done a great deal as an organization, but that there is much more to do. At the same time, we cannot tackle all the evils in the world. But what we are doing should have an impact, should inspire action.

This for me is the rationale for launching the work towards a clear IHRA strategy which defines our mandate, our mission, and our goals. Let us focus our efforts where we can have the biggest impact. Let us work efficiently, and with clear objectives.

I take this opportunity to thank all IHRA delegates for their support over the last year. I know that I leave the organization in good hands with Ambassador Bättig of Switzerland and look forward to watching the organization go from strength to strength.

Constantinescu Signature Mihnea Constantinescu
IHRA Chair 2016

Timeline

  1. 27 January, 2016

    On International Holocaust Remembrance Day, 27 January, 2015 IHRA Chair Szabolcs Takács addressed the General Assembly of the United Nations in New York. The theme of the commemoration was "The Holocaust and Human Dignity". Takács emphasized that reflecting on the Holocaust could tell us many things of relevance to today's world: that discrimination, antisemitism and xenophobia are threats to civilization, the importance of protecting human rights and the early warning signs of genocide.

    Watch the video or read the Chair's full address.

    27 January, 2016
  2. 15-16 February, 2016

    In February, the IHRA organized the International Research Conference on Education about the Holocaust together with the PH Luzern University of Teacher Education in Switzerland. The conference was organized by Monique Eckmann, Chair of IHRA's Steering Committee on Education Research and was aimed at researchers, educators, policy-makers and funders. Watch a number of the keynote addresses from the conference on our YouTube Channel. The outcome of the research project is available in the volume: “Research in Teaching and Learning about the Holocaust. A Dialogue Beyond Borders”.

    February, 2016
  3. 8 March, 2016

    Romania assumed the Chairmanship of the IHRA on 8 March during a handover ceremony that took place at the Embassy of Romania in Berlin. Together with the outgoing Hungarian Chair, State Secretary Szabolcs Takács, and the incoming Chair, Ambassador Mihnea Constantinescu, the ceremony was attended by members of the diplomatic corps.

    March 8, 2015
  4. 10 March, 2016

    In March, the second volume in the IHRA publication series was published under the name “Bystanders, Rescuers or Perpetrators? The Neutral Countries and the Shoah”. It offers a trans-national, comparative perspective on the varied reactions of the neutral countries to the Nazi persecution and murder of the European Jews. Read the full publication.

    March, 2015
  5. IHRA Honorary Chairman, Professor Yehuda Bauer, with the Terraforming team Nevena Bajalica and Misko Stanisic.

    15-17 March, 2016

    During the Funding Review Committee Meeting, the annual Yehuda Bauer Grant was awarded to the organization Terraforming South (Serbia), for their project on developing a European Library Platform for Holocaust education. The project aims to create a large-scale library network and to develop a collaborative platform of international resources for Holocaust education, and was chosen “in light of its excellent quality and its highly multilateral dimensions", according to the Funding Review Committee.

    15 March, 2015
  6. 6 April, 2016

    On 6 April, the Romanian Chairmanship hosted a Diplomatic Briefing in Bucharest. The IHRA Chair, Ambassador Mihnea Constantinescu, met with Ambassadors of IHRA Member and Observer Countries in Bucharest to mark the start of Romania’s Chairmanship and to present the Romanian priorities: work with the media and social media, the consolidation of Holocaust education in Member Countries and beyond, the promotion of academic research, and combating antisemitism.

    April 6, 2016
  7. 6-7 April, 2016

    During the Forgotten Voices Conference in Bucharest, the IHRA Chair informed the audience about the IHRA’s activities in the area of remembrance and education on the genocide of the Roma. This conference, organized by the European Roma and Travellers Forum in cooperation with the Council of Europe, took place in the Romanian Parliament in Bucharest, Romania

  8. Hungarian IHRA Chair, State Secretary Szabolcs Takács, and IHRA Executive Secretary, Dr Kathrin Meyer, address Vice President of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans, in 2015 on the issue of the GDPR.

    14 April, 2016

    The IHRA was delighted by the inclusion of a specific reference to the Holocaust within the new EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that was adopted by the European Parliament on 14 April. The 2015 IHRA Chair, State Secretary Szabolcs Takács, had earlier carried out a comprehensive campaign in Brussels to raise awareness of the potential negative impact of the GDPR on Holocaust-related research. Considering that the Holocaust lies at the heart of the foundation of the European community, and given the increasing antisemitism across Europe, the need for unfettered access to documents on Holocaust related issues is of central importance.

    April 24, 2016
  9. IHRA Executive Secretary and Chair of the IHRA Committee on Antisemitism and Holocaust Denial, Mark Weitzman.

    19 April, 2016

    The IHRA Executive Secretary, Dr. Kathrin Meyer, took part in the International Network Against Cyber Hate and the Israeli Students Combating Antisemitism conference on online antisemitism in Jerusalem. Dr. Meyer participated in a panel entitled 'Towards Solutions – Education, Counterspeech and Coalition Building'. Mark Weitzman, Chair of IHRA's Committee on Antisemitism and Holocaust Denial, and Ms. Katharina von Schnurbein, the European Commission Coordinator on Combating Antisemitism, also participated in the conference.

    April 19, 2016
  10. 10 May, 2016

    On 10 May, an IHRA delegation discussed the future of the historic site Staro Sajmište in Belgrade, Serbia. IHRA’s experts expressed their concern about the preservation of the site due to the risks posed by urban development and unclear future plans for a memorial complex. The visit followed up on discussions held during the Debrecen Plenary meetings. The President of the Commission Staro Sajmište, Bishop Jovan Culibrk, attended the IHRA Plenary Meetings in Iasi in November and IHRA was offered a seat on the Commission.

    May 10, 2016
  11. 13 May, 2016

    In May, the IHRA Chair made a statement regarding the Holocaust Denial Cartoon Competition in Iran. As in previous years, IHRA’s 31 Member Countries stood united in their condemnation of the planned competition. “It must remain clear that any attempt to claim that the Holocaust did not take place or to minimize or blur responsibility for the genocide is an attack on the memory of the victims and memory of the Holocaust”, the IHRA Chair, Ambassador Mihnea Constantinescu, said.

    13 May, 2016
  12. 23-26 May, 2016

    The IHRA successfully concluded its four-day Plenary Meetings in Bucharest, where the IHRA Plenary adopted a working definition of antisemitism. “By adopting this working definition, the IHRA is setting an example of responsible conduct for other international fora and hopes to inspire them also to take action on a legally binding working definition”, the IHRA Chair stated.

    23 May, 2016
  13. 25 May, 2016

    IHRA Honorary Chairman, Professor Yehuda Bauer, was awarded the National Order for Merit by the President of Romania, H.E. Klaus Iohannis. The award was given as a sign of appreciation for Professor Bauer’s long-standing efforts in the field of Holocaust research and education, and particularly for his work with the IHRA.

    25 May, 2016
  14. 8 June, 2016

    The IHRA Chair visited the Republic of Moldova, where he attended high-level political meetings, visited the Jewish cultural centre “Kedem” and talked to the media. The objective of the visit was to “emphasize the necessity of Holocaust education, of increasing efforts in Holocaust remembrance and to express concern regarding the preservation of Jewish cultural heritage”, said the Chair. The Republic of Moldova has been one of the IHRA’s 11 Observer Countries since 2014.

    8 June, 2016
  15. IHRA Executive Secretary being interviewed by USC Shoah Foundation Director of Education, Dr Kori Street.

    13-17 June, 2016

    The IHRA Executive Secretary and Communication Officer, Laura Robertson, visited the USC Shoah Foundation in Los Angeles, California. They were introduced to the USC Shoah Foundation’s multiple collections, their archiving process as well as the institute's programming and evaluation procedures, which provided important input and inspiration for the development of an IHRA strategy.

    13 June, 2016
  16. 27 June, 2016

    In June, the Romanian IHRA Chairmanship launched a training program for public servants, magistrates, law enforcement agencies and diplomats on the topic of combating antisemitism, racism, xenophobia, and Holocaust denial.

    27 June, 2016
  17. 28 - 29 June, 2016

    On 28 and 29 June, the IHRA Chair participated in the commemoration of the Iași Pogrom that was organized in Iași, Podu Iloaiei și Târgu Frumos. The commemoration marked 75 years since the pogrom. The IHRA Chair said, “I take this opportunity to pay my deepest respect to the victims of a horrendous tragedy that happened 75 years ago. The Romanian IHRA Chairmanship recommends that IHRA Member Countries actively and attentively confront the lessons of the past with the current realities and challenges in order to make all possible efforts to ensure that tragedies like the Iași Pogrom can never happen again.”

    28 June, 2016
  18. IHRA Chair and IHRA Executive Secretary with a Ukranian delegation at the Babi Yar Memorial.

    5 - 6 July, 2016

    On 5 and 6 July, the IHRA Chair and the IHRA Executive Secretary visited Ukraine to attend high level meetings at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The purpose of the visit was to discuss the IHRA's work and the upcoming commemoration of Babi Yar on 29 September 2016. The IHRA delegation also visited the Babi Yar site during the meetings. The IHRA hopes to welcome Ukraine as an IHRA Observer Country in the near future and support Ukraine in its efforts to promote Holocaust research, remembrance and education, both through funding and with academic and educational support.

    5 - 6 July, 2016
  19. Cenek Ruzicka of the Committee for the Redress of the Roma Holocaust speaks with the IHRA delegation at the site Lety u Pisku.

    12 July, 2016

    An IHRA delegation, including the IHRA Chair, attended high level meetings in the Czech Republic to discuss the uncertain future of the former concentration camp site of Lety u Pisku where an industrial pig farm stands. Over 1,300 Roma and Sinti were interned in Lety during the German Nazi occupation. The IHRA had stated its concern about the situation at Lety on several occasions during the past year and in November 2016 received the positive news that the Czech Government had passed a decision to close the farm.

    12 July, 2016
  20. 19 July, 2016

    The IHRA Executive Secretary presented a paper on the topic of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance and its role in the development of Holocaust remembrance in the international political arena at the British Association of Holocaust Studies (BAHS) conference in London. The conference entitled 'The Presence of the Holocaust in society, politics and culture, c.1970 – 2015' explored the growth and development of Holocaust history and memory over the past four decades.

    19 July, 2016
  21. 2 August, 2016

    On the day of commemoration of the genocide of the Roma and Sinti, the IHRA made a joint statement with the OSCE/ODIHR. The Director of the OSCE Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights, Michael Georg Link, and the IHRA Chair stressed that greater efforts are needed to protect endangered memorial sites and ensure the dignity of victims. Read the statement.

    The IHRA also spoke to the Chair of the Central Council of German Sinti and Roma, Romani Rose, to discuss what 2 August means to the Sinti and Roma community, and what the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance can do to support these commemorative efforts. Read the full interview.

    2 August, 2016
  22. President Christian Klippl and Director Andreas Sarközy (son of the late Rudi Sarközy), Austrian Roma Culture Association, initiators of the Roma memorial in Chelmno

    2 August, 2016

    The commemoration at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum marked the day in 1944 when the last group of nearly 2,900 Sinti and Roma were killed in the gas chambers. A ceremony was also held at the former Łódź Ghetto and was attended by the Chair of the IHRA Committee on the Genocide of the Roma, Martina Maschke, and Committee member Gerhard Baumgartner. Martina Maschke and Gerhard Baumgartner also participated in the unveiling of a new memorial for the Roma and Sinti victims in Chełmno on behalf of the IHRA.

    2-3 August, 2016
  23. 14 September, 2016

    The second IHRA diplomatic briefing took place in Bucharest and was an opportunity to present the IHRA’s achievements from the first six months of the Romanian Chairmanship. The IHRA Chair highlighted the good cooperation between the IHRA and other fora, such as OSCE/ODIHR, and commended the initiative of the German Chairmanship of the OSCE to propose the adoption of a working definition of antisemitism, based on the working definition adopted by the IHRA in May 2016.

    14 September, 2016
  24. 20 September, 2016

    On 20 September, the IHRA Chair gave a speech at the Belgian conference ‘Connecting Law and Memory’, supported among others by the IHRA and the Council of Europe. Citing Elie Wiesel in his speech, the IHRA Chair highlighted the dangers of indifference and hypocrisy: “There may be times when we are powerless to prevent injustice, but there must never be a time when we fail to protest.” The conference took place at the Museum Kazerne Dossin in Mechelen, Belgium.

    20 September, 2016
  25. IHRA Chair, Ambassador Constantinescu, and the IHRA Executive Secretary, Dr. Kathrin Meyer, met with Secretary of State of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation, Teresa Ribeiro, at the Portuguese Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Also in attendance was the Head of the Portuguese Delegation to the IHRA, Ambassador Luis Barreiros and the Romanian Ambassador to Portugal, Ambassador Ioana Bivolaru.

    22 - 23 September, 2016

    In the capital of Portugal, Lisbon, the IHRA Chair and IHRA Executive Secretary attended a conference and a number of high level meetings with the aim of promoting IHRA’s mission and main objectives with representatives of the Portuguese Government and with various Portuguese organizations focusing on the memory of the Holocaust.

    22 - 23 September, 2016
  26. Meeting the Foreign Minister of Poland, Minister Waszczykowski. Credit: Michał Jasiulewicz.

    5 October, 2016

    In October an IHRA delegation visited Warsaw to participate in high level political meetings. The meetings included an appointment at the Chancellery of the President and the Institute of National Remembrance, as well as the Ministries of Education, Foreign Affairs and Culture and National Heritage. Additionally, the IHRA delegation had the opportunity to visit the POLIN Museum and meet Director Dariusz Stola. Poland has been an IHRA Member Country since 1999, and is committed to strengthening efforts to promote education, remembrance and research about the Holocaust.

    5 October, 2016
  27. 9 October, 2016

    The IHRA Chair attended the national Holocaust Remembrance Day ceremony at the Holocaust Memorial in Bucharest and laid a wreath. The ceremony was also attended by the Presidential Counsellor Andrei Muraru, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Lazăr Comănescu, the State Counsellor from the Ministry of Justice Gabriela Scutea, representatives of the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Defense, and the Bucharest City Hall, Jewish and Roma communities, as well as children from Lauder Reut High School and Ion Creanga High School in Bucharest.

    9 October, 2016
  28. 4 November, 2016

    How do we compare genocides and crimes against humanity? The IHRA Committee on the Holocaust, Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity published the report “A Matter of Comparison”, and an interactive map, which provides an analysis and overview of Holocaust programs and literature with a comparative focus. Read the full publication.

    4 November, 2016
  29. Veerle Vanden Daelen, Chair of the Committee on the Holocaust, Genocide & Crimes against Humanity and Ambassador Mihnea Constantinescu, Chair of the IHRA.

    7-10 November, 2016

    On 10 November the IHRA successfully concluded its second bi-annual Plenary meeting under the Romanian Chairmanship in Iasi. Recognizing that Holocaust education is of contemporary political importance, almost 200 experts and policymakers from the IHRA’s 31 Member Countries, eleven Observer Countries, and seven international partner organisations gathered in Iasi. The IHRA Plenary was held in Iasi to coincide with the 75th commemoration of the Iasi Pogrom.

    7 - 10 November, 2016
  30. (L-R) Christian Kippl, Martina Maschke, historian and network coordinator for erinnern.at Herbert Brettl, Gerhard Baumgartner, Michaela Spaeth, and Chair of the Austrian Roma Culture Association, Andreas Sarközi.

    19 November, 2016

    Martina Maschke, Chair of the IHRA Committee on the Genocide of the Roma, and Gerhard Baumgartner, director of the Documentation Center of the Austrian resistance and member of the IHRA Committee, attended the annual commemoration event in memory of the Austrian Roma and Sinti victims murdered during the NS-regime on the site of the former “gypsy camp” Lackenbach in the Federal State of Burgenland.

    19 November, 2016
  31. 3 December, 2016

    On 3 December 2016, upon invitation of the Salzburg Global Seminar, the Co-Head of the Austrian Delegation to the IHRA, Ambassador Michael Baier, participated in the Seminar’s Session 564 “Learning from the Past: Promoting Pluralism and Countering Extremism” where he introduced the IHRA and its outreach to non-IHRA countries.

    3 December, 2016
  32. 6 December, 2016

    In a joint effort between UNESCO and the IHRA, a roundtable was organized in Paris to examine current responses to prevent antisemitism. A report of the discussions is available on the UNESCO website.

    6 December, 2016
  33. Meeting of the expert mission in the Polish Senate with Senator Prof. Michał Seweryński, Chairman of the Committee on Human Rights, Rule of Law and Petitions; Senator Dr. Jan Żaryn and Leszek Kieniewicz, Director of the Senate Office for International Affairs and European Union

    15 December, 2016

    At the Iasi Plenary Meetings, IHRA experts raised serious concerns about provisions in the existing and proposed legislation in Poland that could impact on Holocaust research. On the invitation of the Polish authorities, an IHRA expert working group visited Warsaw on 15 December to enter into dialogue with the relevant Polish stakeholders.

    14 December, 2016
  34. Passengers aboard the St. Louis, 1939

    19 December, 2016

    In December, the IHRA proudly launched its new blog “Seeking Protection" which explores how our knowledge of the refugee situation before, during and after the Holocaust can be relevant for understanding the current refugee situation. The blog aims to serve as a resource center for educators and as a platform for guest bloggers to reflect on the topic of refugees.

    19 December, 2016
  35. 9 January, 2017

    The IHRA held its first ever seminar focused on teaching and learning about the Holocaust and related issues in El Salvador, an IHRA Observer Country. Drawing on IHRA's educational guidelines, the seminar aimed to teach educators about the Holocaust, why it is important, and how to teach about the topic. The seminar was organized by IHRA's Professional Development Outreach committee, together with the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Education of El Salvador. Programme coordinator, Dr. Carrie Olsen, facilitated the seminar in Spanish and IHRA delegate, Jennifer Ciardelli, supervised the programme. The IHRA Chair, Ambassador Constantinescu, addressed participants in a written address.

    9 January, 2017
  36. 26 January, 2017

    To mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the IHRA Chair addressed the Permanent Council of the Organization for Security Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Vienna. The OSCE works towards security, peace and cooperation between states and communities, goals which are aligned with the IHRA mandate of strengthening and advancing Holocaust research, remembrance and education. In his speech, the Chair argued that, “this tragedy is not only part of the human dimension but, reflecting on the Holocaust and related antisemitism and hate speech, it is of direct relevance to the security and safety of our societies.” Read the address made by the Chair.

    26 January, 2017
  37. Michael O’Flaherty, Director of the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights.

    27 January, 2017

    Learning from the past is an important part of educating for the future. On the occasion of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the IHRA Chair and the Director of the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights, Prof. Michael O'Flaherty, issued a joint statement on the importance of educating for the future and preventing the recurrence of human rights violations. Noting that the rising tide of intolerance spreading across Europe demonstrates the vulnerability of human rights, Prof. O'Flaherty stressed the need to be ever vigilant in their protection.

    Read about the commemoration events which took place this year in IHRA Member and Observer Countries.

    27 January, 2017
  38. 27 January, 2017

    International Holocaust Remembrance Day was commemorated in the Albanian city of Tirana through a conference entitled “We remember. Promoting human rights through the lens of Holocaust education and remembrance”. The Co-Head of the Austrian Delegation to the IHRA, Ambassador Michael Baier, and Advisor to the IHRA, Professor Steven Katz, participated in the conference organized by the Albanian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Read Ambassador Baier's speech.

    27 January, 2017
  39. Professor Yehuda Bauer.

    30 January, 2017

    In relation to the recent events in the USA, the IHRA Honorary Chairman, Professor Yehuda Bauer, issued a statement on the IHRA website: "The Jews are not even mentioned in the Presidential statement on 27 January, thus gratuitously violating the memory of the murdered millions. On the same day, an Executive Order was issued by the President's office, banning refugees from entering the US, singling out persons from mainly Muslim countries. This constitutes, in effect, discrimination on religious grounds, violating the Refugee Convention of 1951, of which the US is a signatory. It raises possible troubling parallels with the refusal of most countries during the Nazi period to accept refugees, especially Jewish ones.”

    30 January, 2017
  40. Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with the States, Holy See.

    16-17 February, 2017

    In cooperation with the Holy See, the IHRA organized the two-day conference “Refugee Policies from 1933 until Today: Challenges and Responsibilities” at the Palazzo della Cancelleria in Rome. Participants were public policy-makers from Europe, North America and the Middle East, media representatives and representatives of NGOs and civil society organizations. The focus was on refugee policies from 1933 to the present day. Read more about the conference, speakers and programme.

    16-17 February, 2017
  41. 7 March, 2017

    Switzerland assumed the Chairmanship of the IHRA. During the handover ceremony at the Embassy of Switzerland in Berlin, the outgoing Chair Ambassador Mihnea Constantinescu of Romania handed over the Chairmanship to Ambassador Benno Bättig of Switzerland. At the ceremony, Prof. Monique Eckmann presented the new volume of the IHRA publication series, “Research in Teaching and Learning about the Holocaust. A Dialogue Beyond Borders”.

    Download the free pdf-version of the book.

    7 March, 2017

Statistics

Decisions and Highlights

  • Highlight

    “One of my IHRA highlights was the presentation of the survey 'A Matter of Comparison' at the Plenary in Iasi in November 2016. It was the conclusion of an important research project to collate an overview of publications and programs worldwide in the fields of education, remembrance and research, which deal with the Holocaust in comparison to other mass atrocities. The survey is the first of its kind and will provide our Committee with a solid basis for its ongoing work. The addition of a question on this topic in the IHRA country reports will also ensure that the IHRA as a whole keeps this topic on its radar.”

    VEERLE VANDEN DAELEN, BELGIAN DELEGATION TO THE IHRA
  • Decision

    “The plenary decided to approve the proposal by the Communication Working Group to develop a communication strategy for the organization."– BUCHAREST PLENARY, 26 MAY 2016

    The communication strategy was completed in November 2016.

  • Highlight

    "Thanks to Roma civil society advocacy on the topic and the strong support shown by the IHRA Chair for their efforts, the Romanian Ministry of Education is now working closely on the topic of teacher training with important institutions in Romania, for example Impreuna Agency for Community Development, the Elie Wiesel Institute and the Culture Roma Centre, to promote the inclusion of Roma history in the current curricula review and in two school text books."

    MIRJAM KAROLY, ODIHR SENIOR ADVISOR ON ROMA AND SINTI ISSUES AND IHRA DELEGATECredit: OSCE/ODIHR
  • Highlight

    “My 2016 highlight was the successful completion of the evaluation report, which paved the way for the strategy development and implementation process which will take place under the Swiss chairmanship. I strongly believe that this process is essential to the efficient functioning of the IHRA and will allow the organization to better fulfil its mandate of strengthening and advancing Holocaust education, research and remembrance. I would like to emphasize the importance of our cooperation in this strategy process. Only by working together we will achieve our objective.”

    2017 IHRA CHAIR, AMBASSADOR BENNO BÄTTIG
  • Decision

    "The plenary decided to adopt a non-legally binding working definition of antisemitism." - 26 MAY 2016, BUCHAREST

    Read the full decision.

  • Highlight

    “We had wonderful encounters, exchanges and discussions between researchers, educators and policymakers at the IHRA International Research Conference on Education about the Holocaust which took place from 15-16 February 2016 in Luzern. Empirical research on teaching and learning about the Holocaust has grown rapidly over the past fifteen years and the Luzerne conference and subsequent trans-national, multi-lingual publication aim to carry the field beyond anecdotal reflections and moral arguments.”

    MONIQUE ECKMANN, SWISS DELEGATION TO THE IHRA
  • Decision

    “The plenary decided to approve the proposal by the Steering Committee on Killing Sites for funding to hold the conference ‘As Mass Murder Began: Identifying and Remembering the Killing Sites of Summer-Fall 1941’ at the Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum in Vilnius, Lithuania.”- 26 MAY 2016, BUCHAREST

    The conference will take place from 22-23 March 2017.

  • Highlight

    “An excellent example of IHRA’s impact is the successful political intervention of the IHRA Chair at the former Roma concentration camp site Lety in the Czech Republic.  Thanks to IHRA’s endeavors, and with the appreciated support of the Czech Head of Delegation, Ambassador Antonin Hradilek, the Czech authorities have now come to an agreement to remove the pig farm and create a dignified memorial site - a clear result of IHRA’s mandate to promote remembrance efforts.”

    MARTINA MASCHKE, AUSTRIAN DELEGATION TO THE IHRA
  • Decision

    “The plenary decided to approve the proposal for a conference to be held in cooperation with the Holy See in 2016/2017.”- 26 MAY 2016, BUCHAREST

    The conference was held from 16-17 February 2017 in Rome.

  • Highlight

    “The way the IHRA addressed the topic of refugees and migrants became one of the highlights of the year as it demonstrated the organization's preparedness to make meaningful connections between the Holocaust and contemporary developments. I consider both the IHRA Blog “Seeking Protection” and the Rome conference on refugee policies recently held in cooperation with the Holy See a worthy follow up to the initial discussion at the Debrecen Plenary, where the idea was born to make maximum use of the IHRA’s unique acquis in this field.”

    AMBASSADOR MICHAEL BAIER, CO-HEAD OF THE AUSTRIAN DELEGATION TO THE IHRA
  • Highlight

    “The Education Research Project was an incredible contribution to the field. The international research conference in Lucerne was a complete success with a cross-cutting audience that brought together experts who seldom share the same space: historians, educational practitioners, researchers, representatives of Holocaust institutions and funders. This project and convening illustrated how the IHRA can bring different expertise together for a common goal.”

    JENNIFER CIARDELLI, US DELEGATION TO THE IHRA
  • Decision

    “The plenary decided to approve the proposal by the Steering Committee on Holocaust Memorial Days to follow up on the roundtable carried out in IHRA Observer Countries in 2015.”- 26 MAY 2016, BUCHAREST

    In January 2017 Ambassador Michael Baier, Co-Head of the Austrian Delegation, and Professor Steven Katz, Advisor to the IHRA, participated in the commemoration of International Holocaust Remembrance Day in Tirana, Albania. In March 2017 Ambassador Sandro De Bernardin, Head of the Italian Delegation to the IHRA, Richelle Budd-Caplan (Israeli Delegation) and Olivia Marks-Woldman (UK Delegation) of the IHRA Committee on Holocaust Memorial Days will attend high level meetings and commemoration events in Sofia. In the same month, Ambassador Jan Deboutte, Head of the Belgian Delegation to the IHRA, Solvej Berlau (Danish Delegation) and Andrea Szonyi (Hungarian Delegation) of the IHRA Steering Committee on Holocaust Memorial Days will attend high level meetings and commemorative events in Skopje.

  • Highlight

    “There were many highlights for me in 2016, but one thing that sticks with me is the visit I made with an IHRA delegation to the former Roma concentration camp at Lety where an industrial pig farm stands. I was deeply moved by the pain from among the Roma community and those who had family members who had suffered or lost their lives on the site. I highly commend the Czech Government for their decision to remove the pig farm and the IHRA looks forward to supporting efforts to ensure a dignified place of remembrance.”

    DR. KATHRIN MEYER, IHRA EXECUTIVE SECRETARY
  • Decision

    “The plenary decided to approve the proposal for the Professional Development Outreach Programme to hold an educational seminar in El Salvador.” - 26 MAY 2016, BUCHAREST

    The seminar was held on 9 January 2017.

  • Highlight

    “Since June 2016 the Ministry of Education of El Salvador has been working together with the IHRA on the organization of the seminar 'Teaching and Learning about the Holocaust and related Issues'. I am very grateful to Jennifer Ciardelli from the IHRA, Carrie Olsen from the University of Colorado, and Carlos Rodríguez from the Ministry of Education of El Salvador for their wonderful work on the project. The seminar took place on 9 January and 60 middle and high-school teachers attended, who are now equipped to teach their students about Holocaust related issues as well as its contemporary relevance.”

    AMBASSADOR RICARDO MORAN fERRACUTI, HEAD OF THE IHRA DELEGATION OF EL SALVADORPhoto: Luis Paredes
  • Decision

    “The plenary decided to mandate the Troika to appoint a Strategic Planning Group in the two weeks following the Plenary Session, tasked to coordinate the appropriate steps in the strategic planning process with a view to presenting a draft Strategic Plan to the Geneva Plenary for approval, and to assist the Chairmanship in the coordination of the Strategic Plan’s implementation by the time of the Plenary in Bern.” - 10 NOVEMBER 2016, IASI

  • Highlight

    “A highlight for my country in 2016 was the successful conclusion of the IHRA grant project “Stone Tears” which involved developing strategies for permanent commemoration of remembrance days in Slovenia dedicated to the memory of the victims of the Holocaust and the genocide of the Roma. We appreciate the IHRA's support for projects related to Holocaust remembrance and education, especially in countries where public awareness about the Holocaust is limited.”

    MARJETA BEDRAC, SLOVENIAN DELEGATION TO THE IHRA
  • Decision

    “The plenary decided to adopt the addendum to the 'International Memorial Museums Charter' and task Heads of Delegation to distribute the Charter and Addendum to relevant ministers, people in their administration, and institutions in charge of memorial sites within one month of the Iasi Plenary Session.” - 10 NOVEMBER 2016, IASI

    Read the International Memorial Museums Charter

  • Highlight

    “My personal highlights are the steps that we made in 2016 to improve the visibility of the IHRA. We now have a communications strategy and an implementation plan, a blog with interesting news items on refugees then and now, a welcome pack for new delegates and Heads of Delegation, a monthly newsletter, a great new format for an annual report and a sound plan to make testimonials on the relevance of the IHRA.”

    NIELS WEITKAMP, DUTCH DELEGATION TO THE IHRA
  • Decision

    “The plenary decided to delegate IHRA representatives to attend global meetings and conferences dealing with Responsibility to Protect (R2P) and genocide prevention on a regular basis.” - 10 NOVEMBER 2016, IASI

  • Highlight

    “For myself, I would say my IHRA highlight from 2016 was the new connections being developed between the IHRA and organizations working on genocide prevention and Responsibility to Protect.  It is heartening to see the keen interest expressed by these groups in the IHRA, and their desire to explore how Holocaust scholarship, pedagogy and memorial practices can inform current efforts to prevent genocide.”

    CLINT CURLE, CANADIAN DELEGATION TO THE IHRA
  • Decision

    “The plenary decided to adopt 'History Never Repeats Itself, but Sometimes it Rhymes: Comparing the Holocaust to Different Atrocities' as an IHRA Working Paper, and task the IHRA Permanent Office to circulate it electronically to all IHRA Heads of Delegation to be shared with their respective delegations.” - 10 NOVEMBER 2016, IASI

  • Highlight

    “At the Iasi Plenary Meetings, IHRA experts raised serious concerns about provisions in the existing and proposed legislation in Poland that could impact on Holocaust research. A highlight of 2016 was our advocacy and raising awareness of the proposed law in Poland, including the IHRA mission to Warsaw. It illustrated what IHRA is best at and what it should be doing.”

    MICHAEL NEWMAN, UK DELEGATION TO THE IHRA
  • Decision

    “The plenary decided to endorse Italy’s candidacy for the IHRA Chairmanship in 2018.” - 10 NOVEMBER 2016, IASI

In Memoriam

On 2 July 2016 Elie Wiesel, Nobel Prize for Peace Laureate and Holocaust survivor passed away.

Elie Wiesel attended the first Stockholm Forum on the Holocaust in the year 2000 as then Honorary Chairman. At the ceremonial opening of the Forum, Wiesel addressed high-ranking political leaders and officials from more than forty-six countries, commending the enthusiastic responses of governments but making clear that the meeting in Stockholm was only the beginning: “Beginnings need to have their own future. In other words our beginning requires a worthy continuation. You have done so much already. It is only natural for us to expect more.”

The IHRA Chair expressed great sadness at the loss of Elie Wiesel, stating “He was a tireless and respected campaigner for freedom and human rights, a promoter of understanding and dialogue among people. May his memory be blessed and always be remembered.”

ELIE WIESEL AT THE STOCKHOLM INTERNATIONAL FORUM, 2000.

Coming up

2017

MAR 2017

Holocaust Memorial Day visit to Bulgaria by Ambassador De Bernardin (Italy), Richelle Budd-Caplan (Israel) and Olivia Marks-Woldman (UK) of the IHRA Committee on Holocaust Memorial Days

MAR 2017

22 – 23 March 2017: Conference entitled “As Mass Murder Began: Identifying and Remembering the Killing Sites of Summer-Fall 1941” at the Vilna Gaon State Jewish Museum in Vilnius, Lithuania

JUN 2017

First Plenary Meetings under the Swiss Chairmanship held in Geneva from 26 – 29 June 2017

NOV 2017

Second Plenary Meetings under the Swiss Chairmanship held in Bern from 27 – 30 November 2017

MAR 2017

Holocaust Memorial Day visit to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia by Ambassador Deboutte (Belgium), with Solvej Berlau (Denmark) and Andrea Szonyi (Hungary) of the IHRA Steering Committee on Holocaust Memorial Days

MAY 2017

25 – 27 May 2017: IHRA Expert Conference "50 years of Roma Genocide Research

NOV 2017

IHRA Conference on the connection between the murder of people with disabilities and the Holocaust to be held in Bern, 26 November 2017

2017

Review of the submitted country reports on restricted archives and final report on the state of archival access

2017

New IHRA website to be launched

2018

Publication of conference papers from the conference in cooperation with the Holy See “Refugee Policies from 1933 until Today: Challenges and Responsibilities”

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