Sending a strong message on the importance of truthful remembrance and research, the Berlin Plenary of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) decided to issue an IHRA Statement on Rehabilitation.
Responding to worrying tendencies in multiple countries, the statement warns of the dangers of rehabilitating historical figures complicit in the crimes of the Holocaust and the genocide of the Roma, IHRA said in a statement on its website on July 7.
“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.”
The IHRA Statement comes as a response to the recent rise in antisemitic attacks and attempts to distort the memory of the Holocaust.
Dr. Robert Williams, chairperson of the IHRA Committee on Antisemitism and Holocaust Denial, said: “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.”
In their attempts to confront a troublesome past, rehabilitation of historical figures is one of the difficult challenges facing countries grappling with the history of the Holocaust. Confronting this history and the thorny questions it raises, however, remains the only way forward, IHRA 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,” said the head of the Latvian delegation to IHRA Einars Mikelsons.
“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 IHRA Statement on Rehabilitation is only the third statement issued by the Plenary in the history of the organisation.
With 34 member countries, including Bulgaria, 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.
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