BERLIN, 5.03.2019 – On 5 March, 2019, Luxembourg assumed the Chairmanship of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA).
The outgoing Chair Ambassador Sandro De Bernardin of Italy handed over the Chairmanship to Ambassador Georges Santer. The handover took place at the Embassy of Luxembourg in Berlin, and was attended by members of the diplomatic corps representing IHRA’s 32 Member Countries.
The event was opened by the Ambassador of Luxembourg to the Federal Republic of Germany, H. E. Jean Graff. Reflecting on Luxembourg’s chairmanship, Ambassador Santer said:
" We have to act. We have to mobilize. We have to go against. This requires an energetic counteraction of our societies, especially in the EU where so much is at stake at the upcoming elections to the European Parliament.
We remember those who were murdered, we honor the victims, but our work is not only about the past. Our role is to contribute to preserving democratic values."
Following the speeches by Ambassador Santer and Ambassador De Bernardin, Dr. Juliane Wetzel, senior researcher at the Centre for Research on Antisemitism at the Technical University Berlin, and Dr. Brigitte Bailer, Institute of Contemporary History at the University of Vienna, presented IHRA’s publication “Mass Murder of People with Disabilities and the Holocaust”. This publication presents the results of the latest research on the murders of people with disabilities in the German occupied territories, as discussed at an IHRA conference held in Bern in November 2017. The means and methods used in these crimes were applied later during the Holocaust — perpetrators of these first murders became experts in the death camps of the so-called “Aktion Reinhardt”.
Prof. Dr. Andreas Fickers, Director of the Luxembourg Centre for Contemporary and Digital History, University of Luxembourg, addressed the audience on “Cultures of Memory and Practices of Forgetting in the Digital Age”. Music was provided by Danièle Patz and Nadine Kauffmann, who interpreted 5 poems written by children in the ghetto of Terezin/Theresienstadt, none of whom survived.
Luxembourg has been a member of the IHRA since 2003, and will host two plenary meetings during its chairmanship: the first in Mondorf-les-Bains in June and the second in Luxembourg City in December.
The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance 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.
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