United in Safeguarding the Record and Combatting Distortion


The impressive continued cooperation and support from our Member Countries as well as our strengthened efforts towards countering distortion and safeguarding the historical record framed IHRA’s work in 2018. By the end of the year, the IHRA’s working definition of antisemitism had been endorsed or adopted by 17 countries, a significant achievement and a fitting legacy of the former IHRA Chair, Ambassador Mihnea Constantinescu, who sadly passed away in November 2018. Ambassador Constantinescu’s exemplary leadership skills, unwavering commitment to combatting antisemitism and flawless diplomacy will always be remembered by the IHRA community. The achievement of the working definition will continue to make an impact internationally as more countries endorse or adopt the wording.

In promoting and profiling the work in Member Countries, the IHRA continued to remember the past and honor the victims of the Holocaust. As in recent years, and also in 2018, we have seen again the growth of extremist and populist incidents and discourse, reminding us that our objectives are ever more pertinent. According to our experiences, survivors today are very much concerned with the safety of their families and the Jewish community as a whole, as well as with the fear of being forgotten. This concern guides our work and motivates our international network of experts and political representatives.

Kathrin Meyer edited

The importance of the IHRA’s work will be further highlighted next year when our 32 Member Countries reaffirm their commitments enshrined in the Stockholm Declaration, the IHRA’s founding document, on the 20th anniversary of its adoption in 2020. Furthermore, Member Countries plan a new message in response to today’s contemporary challenges.

I look forward to working closely with our Member Countries at this critical time, to deepening our partnerships and to addressing the fundamental challenges we jointly face.

Signature Kathrin
Dr. Kathrin Meyer
IHRA Executive Secretary


  1. Visitors at the Auschwitz Remembrance Day in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Credit: Dirk P. H. Spits / DPHOTO

    27 January 2018

    International Holocaust Remembrance Day is commemorated worldwide in memory of the victims of the Holocaust. In 2018, the IHRA collated an overview of hundreds of events taking place in IHRA member and observer countries on 27 January.

    27 January, 2018
  2. Dr. Robert Williams meets His Holiness Pope Francis. Credit: Vatican Media

    29 January 2018

    The Italian 2018 OSCE Chairmanship hosted the Rome International Conference on the 'Responsibility of States, Institutions and Individuals in the Fight against Antisemitism in the OSCE Area', where His Holiness Pope Francis made an appearance. Robert Williams, Chair of the Committee on Antisemitism and Holocaust Denial, attended the conference, together with IHRA Chair, Sandro De Bernardin, and IHRA delegate Mark Weitzman.

    29 January, 2018
  3. IHRA Chair, Sandro De Bernardin. Credit: Dario J Laganà

    7 March 2018

    Ambassador Sandro De Bernardin took over the Chairmanship of the IHRA from outgoing Chair Ambassador Benno Bättig of Switzerland. Speaking at the handover ceremony, Ambassador De Bernardin said, “Today the international community still needs a watchman and sentinels to alert our consciences. This is the task of the IHRA, it is our task: to ensure that awareness prevails over ignorance, responsibility over indifference.”

    7 March, 2018
  4. Prime Minister H.E. Zoran Zaev. Credit: Влада на Република Македонија

    11-12 March 2018

    The commemoration of 75 years since the deportation of 7,144 Jews to the death camp Treblinka in 1943 was marked by numerous events and activities in Skopje, Bitola and Shtip. The commemorative events were held under the auspices of the Prime Minister H.E. Zoran Zaev. The ceremony was attended by a number of IHRA delegates and on the eve of the commemoration events, the Government adopted the IHRA working definition on antisemitism.

    11-12 March, 2018
  5. The 6th Global Forum for Combatting Antisemitism. Credit: Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs

    19-21 March 2018

    The IHRA Chair, Sandro De Bernardin, attended the 6th Global Forum on Combatting Antisemitism in Jerusalem, and participated in the panel, "The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance and the Working Definition of Antisemitism: Expanding Adoption of an Important Policy Tool".

    19-21 March, 2018
  6. Credit: IHRA

    28 March 2018

    The IHRA Chair issued a statement on the murder of Holocaust survivor, Mireille Knoll: "It was with deep sadness and concern that I heard the news of Mireille Knoll’s death in Paris last week. The decision of French prosecutors to file preliminary charges for murder with antisemitic motives is correct and sets an important international signal that governments, judicial systems and police forces must be aware of and sensitive to antisemitic motivations for hate crimes.”

    28 March, 2018
  7. Martina Maschke speaking at Lety u Pisku. Credit: Museum of Romani Culture Brno

    25 April 2018

    Martina Maschke, Chair of the IHRA Committee on the Genocide of the Roma, visited Lety u Pisku to commend the Czech Government on the removal of a pig farm from the site of the former Roma concentration camp. Maschke said, “The Czech government, the local authority and the people of Lety should be proud that they have taken an important step towards remembrance and have set an example of responsible conduct for other countries when it comes to facing a difficult past.”

    25 April, 2018
  8. Credit: IHRA

    3 May 2018

    The IHRA Chair, Sandro De Bernardin, expressed great concern about antisemitic comments made by Palestinian Authority President, Mahmoud Abbas. De Bernardin stated that these comments are “…the typical examples of antisemitic stereotypes denounced in the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism…These comments make the importance of IHRA’s mission to safeguard the record of the Holocaust and to counter Holocaust distortion even more evident.”

    03 May, 2018
  9. Holocaust-era documentation, Yad Vashem Archives. Credit: Yad Vashem

    25 May 2018

    The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into force. The IHRA had previously worked closely with the EU to ensure that documents bearing on the Holocaust would be specifically exempt.

    25 May, 2018
  10. IHRA Chair, Sandro De Bernardin at the plenary meeting in Rome. Credit: IHRA

    28-31 May 2018

    The IHRA successfully concluded its first bi-annual Plenary Meeting under the Italian Chairmanship in Rome where more than 200 experts and governmental representatives met to discuss the Holocaust as a contemporary political issue.

    28-31 May, 2018
  11. Credit: IHRA

    28 June 2018

    The IHRA Chair, Sandro De Bernardin, issued a statement on the amendment to the Polish National Remembrance Law: “It is our hope that this change in law be accompanied by a cooperative and international approach to building Holocaust research and awareness in Poland. We remain committed to freedom of inquiry, research, and publication and are convinced that the greatest defense in honor of the Polish people is to preserve the truth as it actually was."

    28 June, 2018
  12. Credit: IHRA

    29 June 2018

    The IHRA Chair, Sandro De Bernardin, expressed he “was deeply troubled by the comments made by Matteo Salvini, Italian Minister of Interior,” which spoke disrespectfully of Roma. De Bernardin stated, “The IHRA is committed to countering distortion and preserving the historical record. Raising awareness of the prejudice towards Roma and Sinti before, during and after the Second World War as well as demonstrating the link between the history of persecution and the present situation of the Roma is a key objective of the IHRA and its dedicated Committee on the Genocide of the Roma.”

    29 June, 2018
  13. Martina Maschke and Gerhard Baumgartner with Marion Dworzack, Diana Sophia Maria and members from the Romano Centro. Credit: Marion Dworzack

    2 August 2018

    The Chair of the IHRA Committee on the Genocide of the Roma, Martina Maschke, and Committee member, Gerhard Baumgartner, represented the IHRA at the commemoration at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum to mark the day of remembrance for the victims of the genocide of the Sinti and Roma.

    2 August, 2018
  14. The Power of Education to Prevent Discrimination and Racism Conference. Credit: UNESCO

    26 September 2018

    The IHRA Chair, Sandro De Bernardin, spoke at a conference on “The Power of Education to Prevent Discrimination and Racism: The Case of Antisemitism”, organized by UNESCO within the framework of the United Nations General Assembly.

    26 September, 2018
  15. Credit: IHRA

    28 October 2018

    The IHRA Chair, Sandro De Bernardin, issued a statement on the shooting at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh: “We condemn this antisemitic hate crime and call on the international community and all political, social and religious leaders on the national and local level to speak out against hate speech, to ensure the security of all vulnerable communities, and to support social and educational efforts to address all forms of antisemitism.”

    28 October, 2018
  16. IHRA Permanent Office Staff, Amb. Sandro De Bernardin, and IHRA representatives with His Eminence Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State of the Holy See and Father Norbert Hofmann, Secretary of the Commission for Religious Relations With the Jews. Credit: IHRA

    9 November 2018

    The IHRA Chair, Ambassador Sandro De Bernardin, led an IHRA mission to the Vatican to exchange views with His Eminence Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Secretary of State of the Holy See. The IHRA Chair presented the publication that resulted from the joint IHRA/Holy See conference held in 2017, Refugee Policies from 1933 until Today: Challenges and Responsibilities, which was attended by high-level stakeholders from IHRA Member Countries, the Holy See and non-governmental organizations.

    9 November, 2018
  17. Credit: Community Security Trust

    28 November 2018

    Slovakia officially adopted the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism on 28 November. Other countries in 2018 who also adopted the definition were: Lithuania (24 January), North Macedonia (6 March), and The Netherlands (27 November). A full list of countries which have endorsed or adopted the working definition can be found in the following fact sheet.

    28 November, 2018
  18. Second Bi-Annual Plenary Meeting, Ferrara, Italy. Credit: Marco Caselli Nirmal

    29 November 2018

    The IHRA successfully concluded its second bi-annual Plenary Meeting under the Italian Chairmanship in the beautiful Castello Estense in Ferrara where more than 200 experts and governmental representatives met to discuss the Holocaust as a contemporary political issue. The meetings were presided over by the IHRA Chair, Sandro De Bernardin.

    29 November, 2018
  19. European Union Headquarters in Brussels. Credit: AP Photo/Virginia Mayo

    29 November 2018

    The European Union became a Permanent International Partner with the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, saying this partnership would, “allow for closer cooperation on combatting Holocaust denial and preventing racism, xenophobia and antisemitism.”

    30 November, 2018
  20. Credit: IHRA

    6 December 2018

    The IHRA Chair issued a statement on the adoption of the Declaration on Antisemitism by the Justice and Home Affairs Council: “I commend the unanimous adoption of the declaration…The declaration is a strong statement that democracies must pay closer attention to - and take specific steps to combat - the problem of antisemitism.”

    6 December, 2018
  21. Vera Jourova, EU Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality. Credit: IHRA

    10 December 2018

    The IHRA Chair, Sandro De Bernardin, incoming Luxembourg IHRA Chair, Ambassador Georges Santer and Deputy Executive Secretary, Lennart Aldick, attended the Launch Conference of the 2nd EU Survey on the Experiences and Perceptions of Antisemitism Among Jews in the EU: the largest survey of Jewish people ever conducted. Throughout the conference, all speakers referenced the IHRA Working Definition of Antisemitism.

    10 December, 2018
  22. 11-12 December 2018

    The IHRA Program Officer, Rosvita Krajinovic, participated in the International Conference on the Holocaust and the Muslim World in Marrakech hosted by the Aladdin Project. The Aladdin Project, which launched in 2009 under the support of UNESCO, is a non-governmental organization which promotes intercultural dialogue and is supported by the IHRA.

    12 December, 2018
  23. Credit: IHRA

    23 January 2019

    The IHRA Chair, Sandro De Bernardin, released a statement in observance of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, marking the liberation of Auschwitz on 27 January. He acknowledged that, "An accurate and nuanced understanding of the causes and consequences of the Holocaust are essential if we are to ensure such horrors are not repeated."

    23 January 2019
  24. The IHRA Chair, Sandro De Bernardin, addressing the UN. Credit: UN Photo

    28 January 2019

    The IHRA Chair, Sandro De Bernardin, delivered a statement at the annual observance of the International Day of Commemoration in memory of the victims of the Holocaust in the General Assembly at the United Nations in New York. De Bernardin stated: "The defense of human rights should start with the safeguarding of the record and the countering of distortion. Human rights are a public good and, as such, the property of all. A public good is indivisible: so, it cannot be denied to anybody, neither an individual nor a given group."

    28 January 2019
  25. Buildings at the Fossoli concentration camp in Fossoli, Italy. Credit: Marco Caselli Nirmal

    1 February 2019

    The IHRA began its project 'Sites at Risk: Guidelines for Best Practice' under its five-year priority theme 'Countering Distortion and Safeguarding the Record' decided upon in 2017. Over the next five years, the project aims to create guidelines for safeguarding authentic Holocaust sites - for adoption by all IHRA Member Countries - and to have these guidelines incorporated into national cultural heritage legislation.

    1 February 2019
  26. Mark Weitzman speaking at the conference on combatting antisemitism, organized by OSCE. Credit: IHRA

    5 - 6 February 2019

    The IHRA was represented by several delegates and representatives at the OSCE's conference on Combatting Antisemitism in the OSCE Region. The conference was held in Bratislava, Slovakia, and was sorted into four panels, with the aim of discussing challenges and exploring good practices in addressing antisemitism. IHRA delegates, Robert Williams and Mark Weitzman, were among some of the speakers. The IHRA Chair, Ambassador Sandro de Bernardin, was unable to attend but released a statement on the occasion of the conference.

    5-6 February 2019
  27. Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President of the European Commission. Credit: European Parliament

    7 February 2019

    The Incoming IHRA Chair, Ambassador Georges Santer, attended the forum “The fight against antisemitism: a common approach to better protect Jewish communities in Europe - from policy to action” at the European Parliament in Brussels. Santer stated, "The challenges we are facing are enormous. We need to get our acts together because the stakes are high and thus we have to federate our efforts. We are ready to strengthen our ties with our permanent international partners and other important players."

    07 February 2019
  28. Credit: IHRA

    15 February 2019

    The IHRA Project on Memory Laws began and aims to enhance the capacity for the IHRA to understand, respond to, and advise on regulations, laws, and standards of practice that seek to preserve the historical record of the Holocaust from distortion and misuse.

    15 February 2019
  29. Incoming IHRA Chair, Ambassador Georges Santer. Credit: Neimënster

    5 March 2019

    Ambassador Georges Santer took over the Chairmanship of the IHRA from outgoing Chair Ambassador Sandro de Bernardin of Italy. 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. Also during the handover, Dr. Juliane Wetzel and Dr. Brigitte Bailer presented the IHRA's publication Mass Murder of People with Disabilities and the Holocaust.

    5 March 2019
  30. IHRA Teacher Training in El Salvador. Credit: Luis Paredes

    25 - 26 March 2019

    The IHRA Project on Educational Guidelines will hold a workshop with teachers and teacher trainers in Berlin. The projects aims to promote the use of fact-based, educationally sound techniques for teaching and learning about the Holocaust in both formal and informal settings.

    25 - 26 March 2019


Decisions and Highlights

  • Highlight

    "2018 marked 80 years since the Evian Conference, the Munich Agreement and the adoption of the racial laws in Italy reminding us how the international community at the time did not recognize the warning signs of what was to come. We need to be vigilant, even now. The Italian chairmanship focused on countering distortion and safeguarding the historical record. Thus, the IHRA began a first systematic survey of discriminatory regulations introduced in various European countries during the 1930s. When the study is completed, I'm sure its findings will be relevant also for present political debate."

    SANDRO DE BERNARDIN, IHRA CHAIRCredit: Marco Caselli Nirmal
  • Highlight

    “Becoming a full member of the IHRA is the fruit of the efforts of the Bulgarian Government, the Bulgarian Delegation to the IHRA and of course the co-heads of our delegation. I consider my country’s membership an important milestone. It demonstrates Bulgaria’s commitment to continue to address antisemitism worldwide.”

  • Decision: Membership Application

    The Plenary accepted Bulgaria's application for IHRA membership.- FERRARA PLENARY, 29 NOVEMBER 2018

  • Highlight

    "I was greatly encouraged by the reaction of the 50 colleagues at our Ferrara meetings who attended the preview of “82 Names: Syria, Please Don’t Forget Us”, a film on Syrian human rights defender Mansour Omary and the atrocities being committed by the Assad regime. Colleagues expressed strong interest to use the film in their own educational outreach, including to migrant and refugee communities. Having survived torture and imprisonment in Syria, Omary is engaged in learning from Holocaust remembrance culture in order to develop a culture of justice and remembrance which he hopes one day can be implemented in Syria."

  • Decision: Liaison Application

    The Plenary accepted Portugal's application as an IHRA Liaison Country.- FERRARA PLENARY, 29 NOVEMBER 2018

  • Highlight

    "The IHRA’s work contributed to raising awareness of Europe’s historic responsibility by promoting education, research and commemoration of the persecution and extermination of Roma under the Nazi regime. The notion and consequences of anti-gypsyism today was debated with IHRA delegates, including by exchanging views with Roma civil society on the challenges they are facing in Italy. Additionally, the IHRA has closely followed the process of establishing decent commemoration sites for Roma victims during the Holocaust in Lety, Czech Republic and Komarom, Hungary."

  • Highlight

    "With colleagues in the Education Working Group, I am excited to be part of the group refreshing the IHRA educational guidelines that I strongly believe will have a great practical impact and be of benefit to educators around the world. The recommendations contained in the guidelines will help both educators and educational policy makers meet their best practice commitments and improve quality."

  • Highlight

    "The Ferrara Plenary, condensed into three days, has provided me and other IHRA delegates with valuable, timely opportunities: to delve into key current developments and issues in Holocaust remembrance, to gain insights and formulate messages about current challenges in the field, and to network with significant colleagues. This was a practical, no-nonsense plenary, from which organizers of future plenaries can and should learn."

  • Decision: European Union becomes a Permanent International Partner

    The Plenary officially welcomed the European Union as a Permanent International Partner.- FERRARA PLENARY, 29 NOVEMBER 2018

  • Highlight

    "In 2018 the IHRA went through profound and substantial changes. After agreeing on a strategy, the Member Countries decided on new and improved ways of conducting content work. In the future, the IHRA will focus more on politically impactful activities. This is a strong sign of the commitment to uphold the Stockholm Declaration at a time when antisemitism and Holocaust distortion are more visible. Our gratitude goes to IHRA Chair Sandro De Bernardin who guided the IHRA through these changes, which will have long-term effects and which will be a part of the impressive legacy of the 2018 Italian Chairmanship."

  • Highlight

    "The experts are the core and pounding heart of the IHRA. Their work and their meetings are so important because they, with their expertise, feed the political level. The IHRA’s relevance as a political intergovernmental body has increased over the years and it’s a very welcoming arena, unique of its kind, where you can discuss contemporary challenges to human rights and democracy."

  • Decision: Significant Message

    The Plenary decided to establish and mandate a Drafting Group, under the guidance of the Luxembourg Chair 2019, to draft IHRA's politically significant message for the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the Stockholm Declaration.- FERRARA PLENARY, 29 NOVEMBER 2018

  • Highlight

    "Safeguarding historical materials, making them visible to the public, and helping people make sense of them are essential ways to counter Holocaust distortion. Thus, an important part of the IHRA’s work is to identify authentic Holocaust-related sites that are endangered, to motivate decision makers to take action and responsibility for these, and also to monitor activities that lead to positive changes. Crucial input provided by IHRA’s expert level includes assistance in efforts to protect original remnants of the sites, to preserve the memory of the victims’ suffering and to commemorate them in the most appropriate way."

  • Decision: German Chairmanship in 2020

    The Plenary endorsed Germany's candidacy for chairmanship in 2020.- FERRARA PLENARY, 29 NOVEMBER 2018

  • Highlight

    "The beauty of this international alliance is that we can really work on an international level, which is very important. The biggest value of the IHRA is the combination of bringing together international experts with diplomats and policymakers. The most valuable component of the IHRA is that it is an international group of people combatting the problems we are approaching, and confronting them together."

  • Highlight

    "The Working Definition of Antisemitism is in many ways IHRA’s most significant achievement. The definition’s impact over the last couple of years has been beyond anything I could have anticipated. It has been extraordinary to watch it impact the UK, the US State Department and Department of Education, the many other countries that have adopted it, the European Parliament, as well as all the various agencies, ministries, universities, academic societies, and so-on, in a span of approximately two and a half years."

  • Decision: Greek Chairmanship in 2021

    The Plenary endorsed Greece's candidacy for chairmanship in 2021.- FERRARA PLENARY, 29 NOVEMBER 2018

In Memoriam

Former IHRA Chair, Ambassador Mihnea Constantinescu, passed away on 17 November 2018.

Ambassador Mihnea Constantinescu served as the IHRA Chair in 2016. IHRA Executive Secretary, Dr Kathrin Meyer, said, “Mihnea was a highly professional diplomat with a sharp wit and real warmth of character. I had the pleasure of working closely with him throughout 2016 and was struck by his unwavering commitment to combatting antisemitism and safeguarding the memory of the Holocaust. Even after his chairmanship ended, he continued to be active in the fight against antisemitism.”

The former IHRA Chair, Ambassador Constantinescu, speaking to the press on the site of Staro Sajmište. Credit: IHRA

Coming up



Book release: Mass Murder of People with Disabilities and the Holocaust


First bi-annual Plenary Meetings under the Luxembourg Chairmanship in Mondorf-les-Bains, 3 - 5 June


Second bi-annual Plenary Meetings under the Luxembourg Chairmanship in Luxembourg City, 2 - 5 December


IHRA Sites at Risk Project Workshop, 2 June


IHRA Memory Laws Project Expert Meeting


Presentation of IHRA's Educational Guidelines, 4 December

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