International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance ministers adopt 2020 Declaration

Cabinet ministers from member countries of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), Bulgaria among them, adopted on January 19 the alliance’s 2020 Declaration.

The summit, held in Brussels, was called for the countries to declare their commitment to fighting Holocaust distortion, antisemitism, antigypsyism and other forms of discrimination.

IHRA unites governments and experts to strengthen, advance and promote Holocaust education, remembrance and research worldwide.

The declaration is formed of 14 measures that underpin the ultimate objective of IHRA: to ensure the world remembers the Holocaust and work to contribute to a world without genocide, the alliance said in a statement.

The IHRA 2020 Ministerial Declaration marks the beginning of a historic year, which also sees the 75th anniversaries of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau (January 27 1945) and other concentration and extermination camps, as well as the end of the Second World War in Europe (May 8 1945) and in Asia (September 2 1945).

Ambassador Georges Santer, the IHRA chairperson said: “We are delighted that ministers from around the world have adopted the 2020 Declaration today so that current and future generations do not forget the tragic events of the past and the historical record of the Holocaust is safeguarded.

“Against the backdrop of rising antisemitism, today’s declaration is absolutely crucial. As the IHRA Honorary Chairman, Yehuda Bauer, always says antisemitism is not a threat only to Jews but is a destructive force for our societies in general.

“IHRA Member Countries are obliged to fight these dangerous developments, safeguard the historical record of the past and honour Holocaust victims and survivors today and IHRA will support all Member Countries to do so,” Santer said.

Edith Bruck, Holocaust survivor and keynote speaker at the meeting said: “Holocaust distortion and denial is both deeply offensive to the memory of victims and to me as a survivor. I witnessed first-hand the horrors of what can happen when antisemitism and genocide are not challenged.

“I am incredibly grateful to IHRA and its members today for committing to this historic declaration to help societies remember the atrocities that I and millions of others went through and to take a further step towards a world without genocide,” she said.

This is the full text of the declaration:

As we mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of German Nazi concentration and extermination camps and other sites of persecution and murder, we, the High Governmental Representatives of the Member Countries of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) honor the victims and survivors of the Holocaust (Shoah) which engulfed the Jewish people. We honor, too, the victims and survivors of the genocide of the Roma and others who were persecuted. We promise to never forget those who resisted the Nazis and those who protected or rescued their persecuted fellow human beings. Today, the world still faces genocide, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity and continued threats to pluralistic, democratic and inclusive societies.

As we witness with sadness the passing of the survivor generation, we, the IHRA Member Countries:

  1. Reaffirm our unwavering support for the Declaration of the Stockholm International Forum (2000), the founding document of the IHRA.

  2. Pledge to the victims and survivors that they shall never be forgotten and that their legacy will be kept alive.

  3. Emphasize that remembering the six million Jewish victims of the Holocaust is the responsibility not only of governments but of societies as a whole.

  4. Remember the genocide of the Roma. We acknowledge with concern that the neglect of this genocide has contributed to the prejudice and discrimination that many Roma communities still experience today.

  5. Honor all those who resisted the Nazis, especially the Righteous among the Nations, and others who protected or sought to rescue those who were in danger. Their selfless courage should inspire us all to defend the dignity of every human being.

  6. Express our deepest concerns about rising antisemitism.

  7. Accept our responsibility as governments to continue working together to counter Holocaust denial and distortion, antisemitism, and all forms of racism and discrimination that undermine fundamental democratic principles. We will work closely with experts, civil society and our international partners to further these goals.

  8.  Lead efforts to promote education, remembrance and research on the Holocaust and the genocide of the Roma to counter the influence of historical distortion, hate speech and incitement to violence and hatred.

  9. Safeguard the historical record of the Holocaust, the genocide of the Roma, and the persecution of other victims by Nazi Germany and those fascist and extreme nationalist partners and other collaborators who participated in these crimes.

  10. Underline the importance of identifying, preserving, and making available archival material, testimonies and authentic sites for educational purposes, commemoration and research.

  11. Encourage all countries and societies to address their respective pasts by dealing openly and accurately with the historical record.

  12. Commend efforts by governments and civil society to commemorate the Holocaust and share good practices.

  13. Recognize that understanding the unprecedented nature of the Holocaust is essential to the prevention of genocide and mass atrocity crimes. IHRA expertise is relevant to historically informed policymaking and addressing contemporary challenges.

  14. Determined to remember those who suffered and to strive for a better future, we call upon the international community to share our vision:

A world that remembers the Holocaust

A world without genocide



The Sofia Globe staff

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