Mass Graves and Killing Sites in the Eastern Part of Europe

For several years now the topic of the killing sites and mass graves in Eastern Europe, especially those resulting from the Holocaust, has been brought to the attention of public opinion, media and governments.

After being at best neglected or more generally ignored during the Communist era, thousands of mass graves, where lie millions victims of the Holocaust and other crimes committed by the Third Reich and its allies, constitute today not only a major question that need to be addressed by the various countries concerned from a moral point of view, but also from an historical and memorial one.

The topic was known and studied for a long time by scholars, but its importance represents a challenge particularly regarding the memorialization of the sites, and more generally on the matter of Holocaust teaching.

This report was commissioned by the 2010 Chair of the IHRA and aims at supporting the works of the MMWG regarding preservation and memorialization of mass graves and killing sites. In accordance with the mission letter of the ITF Chair, Mr. Dan Tichon, the report will deal with the main challenges and obstacles faced as far as preservation of the sites is concerned. For that purpose, it will examine briefly the historical background on the mass execution of Jews and other Nazi victims and the state of academic research, as well as the current situation and projects planned regarding identification, marking and preservation of such sites. The report ends with a set of recommendations on how governments could deal with these historic sites.

Download the report