Expert Workshop on Memory Laws

From 29 – 30 July, 2019, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) held an expert workshop as part of its project on the topic of Memory laws under its five-year priority theme ‘Countering Holocaust Distortion and Safeguarding the Record’. The workshop brought together renowned international experts to discuss the status, efficacy, and impact of memory laws, as well as research on them to date.

“It is essential that democracies committed to ensuring relevance of the Holocaust maintain a historically accurate view of the past, particularly when that past is at risk of being misused by political leaders and influencers to justify policies and ideologies of the present,” said Dr Robert Williams, chair of the project. The project aims to enhance the capacity for the IHRA to understand, respond to, and advise on regulations, laws, and standards of practice that seek to preserve the historical record of the Holocaust from distortion and misuse.

Participants from various countries represented several perspectives including legal, academia and policy. Nikolay Koposov and Joanna Michlic provided overviews of the the state of scholarship and research on Holocaust Denial and Memory Laws, while Aleksandra Gliszczynska-Grabias and Talia Naamat provided an international legal perspective and Johannes Börmann contributed the views of the European Commission.

The participants of the workshop were: Brigitte Bailer (IHRA Academic Working Group), Johannes Börmann (European Commission), Debórah Dwork (IHRA AcademicWorking Group), Aleksandra Gliszczyńska-Grabias (Poznań Human Rights Centre), Karina Häuslmeier (German Federal Foreign Office), Nikolay Koposov (Emory University), Jan Łazicki (IHRA Memorials and Museums Working), Joanna Michlic (UCL Institute for Advanced Studies Centre for Collective Violence, Holocaust and Genocide Studies), Talia Naamat (Kanter Center at Tel Aviv University).

The workshop will result in a set of recommendations for consideration by the IHRA and its member countries on how to protect against the misuse of history.

The IHRA unites governments and experts to strengthen, advance and promote Holocaust education, remembrance and research worldwide, and to uphold the commitments of the 2000 Stockholm Declaration.