IHRA Chair, Ambassador Sandro De Bernardin, led an IHRA mission to the Vatican for an exchange of views with His Eminence Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State of the Holy See.
The IHRA Chair thanked Cardinal Parolin and Father Norbert Hofmann, Secretary of the Vatican Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, for the joint conference on Refugee Policies from 1933 until Today: Challenges and Responsibilities held at the Palazzo della Cancelleria on 16 February 2017. The IHRA Chair presented the publication that resulted from this conference, which was attended by high-level stakeholders from IHRA Member Countries, the Holy See and non-governmental organizations. Ambassador De Bernardin also expressed his profound appreciation and gratitude to Pope Francis for the attention he gives to the issue of Holocaust remembrance.
Cardinal Parolin received the IHRA delegation, which included the Heads of the Austrian and Luxembourg Delegation, Ambassador Michael Baier and Ambassador Georges Santer as well as IHRA Executive Secretary, Dr. Kathrin Meyer, and Deputy Executive Secretary, Lennart Aldick, in the Apostolic Palace. The discussions took place in a very friendly and cordial atmosphere and centered on shared concerns about iterative patterns that are currently visible in governmental and societal reactions to increased migration. Freedom of research and access to archives was another subject that was touched upon. Both sides expressed their intention to continue the exchange in the coming years.
The Vatican was an original attendee of the International Stockholm Forum on the Holocaust in 2000.