The IHRA Unanimously Adopts Statement Condemning Rehabilitation

IHRA President Michaela Küchler and Secretary General Kathrin Meyer at the set of the Berlin Virtual Plenary. They are sitting at a long table against a white-gray backdrop. There are cameras and large monitors in the foreground.

BERLIN, 07.07.2020 – The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), today has announced their adoption of a statement globally condemning attempts to rehabilitate the reputations of those complicit in the crimes of the Holocaust and the genocide of the Roma.

The issue of rehabilitation was discussed in depth at the IHRA’s first Plenary of 2020, where government representatives, NGOs and renowned experts from the IHRA’s 34 Member Countries convened virtually in Berlin. Recognizing the issue's relevance for the IHRA as a whole, the IHRA's Member Countries unanimously agreed upon a statement condemning this worrying trend.

“At a time of multiple crises, when the facts of history are increasingly distorted, it is essential the IHRA take a clear stance when it comes to the rehabilitation of such problematic figures,” IHRA President Ambassador Michaela Küchler said. “This issue, which violates our common principles, affects countries involved in the IHRA and beyond.”

This is only the fourth statement adopted by the IHRA in the organization’s twenty-year history. It follows on the heels of the 2020 IHRA Ministerial Declaration adopted early this year, in which 14 fresh commitments were agreed upon to ensure that the world remembers the Holocaust and works towards a world without genocide. One such commitment, dealing openly and accurately with the historical record of the Holocaust, is prominently highlighted in the IHRA statement. It also expresses the organization’s resolve to address this phenomenon by promoting research, public awareness, and political responsibility around the issue of rehabilitation.

During his presentation to the Plenary on the matter, Dr. Robert Williams, Chair of the Committee on Antisemitism and Holocaust Denial, explained, “Our shared memories of the past are inherently flawed and malleable. To do justice to the loss of the Holocaust and to help affirm a better public and common understanding, our memories need good history built on facts and analysis because, at the end of the day, history always stands a better chance of proving that old British axiom: truth will out.”

“Failure to remember truthfully demeans the living and disrespects the dead,” the UK Head of Delegation, Lord Eric Pickles, emphasized. “The issue is simple: participants in the Holocaust, whether directly or indirectly, are incapable, within a civilized society, of having their reputations rehabilitated.”

Latvian Head of Delegation Einars Mikelsons said, “As a representative of a country that experienced three occupations and regained independence just decades ago, I know that dealing with the historic past is not easy. I see the tendency to rewrite the history of the Second World War for political reasons in some countries and I wholeheartedly support the adoption of the IHRA statement.”

The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance unites governments and experts to strengthen, advance and promote Holocaust education, research and remembrance and to uphold the commitments to the 2000 Stockholm Declaration and the 2020 IHRA Ministerial Declaration.