The seven excellent initiatives selected as 2021 IHRA Grant Projects represent innovative approaches to countering distortion and safeguarding the record of the Holocaust and the genocide of the Roma. IHRA Grant Projects address these issues in ways that foster international cooperation and strengthen institutional networks. They are therefore integral to how the IHRA approaches these fundamental aspects of its mandate, reinforcing its commitment to the Stockholm Declaration and the 2020 IHRA Ministerial Declaration.
1. Untold Stories of the Holocaust, from the Corners of Europe
Reaching across borders and through time, this project uses new technologies to shed light on lesser-known aspects of the Holocaust. The National Holocaust Centre and Museum and the Holocaust Memorial Day Trust, with the partnership of the Jewish Museum of Greece, worked alongside civil leaders, museum educators and Greek teacher trainers, to develop and promote an innovative digital resource that tells the stories of individual witnesses. This includes an interactive map of Europe that enables users to explore the provenance and journey of specific Holocaust artefacts. Through this map, audiences can engage with the objects, access testimony, and explore further information and research. By placing the artefacts back in their original context, the three partners supported audiences in developing a greater understanding of the Holocaust and its complexity. You can access the digital resource here.
Applicant: Holocaust Memorial Day Trust (UK)
Partnering Organizations: Jewish Museum of Greece (Greece)
2. Countering Distortion of the Genocide of the Roma in Southeastern Europe – A Key Element for Developing Anti-Racism Strategies and Anti-Discrimination Policies and Practices
This comprehensive research project maps common patterns of distortion of the Roma genocide in 11 countries in Southeastern Europe. The analysis examines legal frameworks, public discourses (media/social media), memorialization practices and educational initiatives. The Auschwitz Institute for the Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities worked with its partners to identify common patterns in these countries regarding the distortion of the history of the Roma genocide, explored how (and if) distortion and the State’s response could have contributed to increased incidences of anti-Roma violence, and developed measures to counteract distortion and prevent racial discrimination and the escalation of violence. The research resulted in a final report that was distributed online and among key government agencies and departments in the targeted countries. You can read the final report here.
Applicant: Auschwitz Institute for Prevention of Genocide and Mass Atrocities (USA/Poland)
Partnering Organizations: François-Xavier Bagnoud Center for Health and Human Rights at Harvard University (Harvard FXB) (USA)
3. Distortion, denial and trivialization of the Holocaust, and recent memory; its use in hate speeches: Recommendations and strategies to counter them
With increases in hate speech and language distorting and denying the Holocaust, the Anne Frank Center developed a project in a specific Latin American context which worked directly with experts in areas related to communication, news agencies, and the press to identify narratives surrounding the Holocaust. The project re-educated news agents in Argentina and Paraguay about their role in a process of disinformation and distortion of the Holocaust. Through analysis and collaboration with these various communication actors in seminars, strategies to counteract Holocaust distortion were developed and disseminated.
Applicant: Anne Frank Center (Argentina)
Partnering Organizations: Fundación IDESO -Instituto Democracia y Sociedad (Paraguay), Telam-National News Agency (Argentina)
4. The rural Holocaust. Collecting and safeguarding the never recorded testimonies 100 forgotten Jewish graves
Seeking to combat the distortion of the Holocaust as a genocide which exclusively took place in ghettos and extermination camps, the “Forgotten” Foundation and its partners located previously unknown sites. Highly relevant to the IHRA Grant Program on Safeguarding the Record, this project helped to restore the memory of the rural Holocaust by expanding and intensifying research on the war graves of Jews killed in mass and single executions. This was achieved via local investigations and interviews, identifying and restoring the identity of victims, and locating graves via non-invasive techniques. 100 new locations were explored, and 20 already known Jewish war graves (in the Mazowieckie Voivodeship) were further examined using this technology. The results are being shared with local authorities to prevent construction, and establish the need for further, permanent, memorialization. You can access the map of these sites here.
Applicant: The “Forgotten” Foundation (Poland)
Partnering Organizations: Professor Caroline Sturdy Colls Centre of Archaeology Staffordshire University (UK), The Matzevah Foundation (USA)
5. Locker of Memory
The Jungfernhof concentration camp is located four miles outside of Riga Latvia, where 3,984 Reich Jews were imprisoned, from 1941–1943.Following the War, the camp was then used as a recreational park, with only a single sign offering a token acknowledgement of the camp’s existence. This project recovered lost data of the Jungfernhof concentration camp. A team of historians conducted archival research and interviewed descendant families to recover stories and artifacts about victims and survivors. Meanwhile, scientists used cutting-edge technologies to identify the borders of camp, and search for the mass grave. Research results have been posted on the project website, accompanied by a timeline, maps and documentation video. The project is expected to further public discourse, linking Holocaust history with cultural heritage and questions of identity.
Applicant: Lesley University (USA)
Partnering Organizations: Institute of Landscape Architecture, Department of Landscape, Spatial and Infrastructure Sciences at University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences (BOKU) (Austria), Erinnern.AT, National Socialism and the Holocaust: Memory and Present (Austria), German Riga Kommittee (Germany), Joseph-Carlebach-Institute for Jewish Theology, Bar-Ilan University (Israel), KZ-Gedenkstätte Neuengamme (Germany), Museum “Jews in Latvia” (Latvia), Philosophy and Sociology Department and the Judaic Studies Centre, University of Latvia (Latvia)
6. A digital monument to commemorate the fates of the Holocaust victims of the Szeged-Bačka region
Using modern, interactive, and crowdsourced technology, the Foundation for the Szeged Synagogue created an online memorial that will also function as a “living archive,” featuring images, links, videos, and documents. The site commemorated over 10,500 persons deported to concentration camps through Szeged during the Holocaust, each with a personal profile. The monument also provided a multilayered view of the Jewish community of the Szeged (Hungary) and Bačka (Serbia) regions before and during the period of the Second World War (1939-1945). A living archive, it will invite family members, friends, historians, editors and visitors to share and document their memories and stories, ensuring that the Jews who were murdered during the Holocaust will be remembered. You can access the online memorial here.
Applicant: Foundation for the Szeged Synagogue (Hungary)
Partnering Organizations: Tikun NGO for research on Vojvodina Jewish heritage (Serbia)
7. Footsteps of the Past, Present, Future
This project aimed to preserve sites that are forgotten, abandoned and unknown to the general public by equipping participants with the knowledge and skills to create and lead educational tours that counter distortion of Jewish and Roma heritage and bridge history and contemporary antisemitism and antigypsyism. Covering key sites across Belgrade, Novi Sad and Subotica, Haver Serbia and its partners provided young activists with educational workshops, lectures, tours, research, and discussions with Jewish and Roma community members. Through this process, participants developed a sense of ownership and responsibility towards local past, present and future heritage.
Applicant: Haver Serbia (Serbia)
Partnering Organizations: European Union of Jewish Students (Belgium)