New article on usable pasts by IHRA Honorary Chairman Yehuda Bauer

“Distortion of the past rests on a combination of truth and invention,” says IHRA’s Honorary Chairman, Yehuda Bauer, in a recently published article. This article, which was published in the Israel Journal of Foreign Affairs and is available in full on the Taylor & Francis Online archive, discusses the concept of a usable past, and how this functions to support nationalistic agendas. 

Holocaust denial is discourse and propaganda that deny the historical reality and the extent of the extermination of the Jews by the Nazis and their accomplices during World War II, known as the Holocaust or the Shoah. The distinctions between denial and distortion, however, are not always clear. Professor Bauer references the IHRA’s Working Definition of Holocaust Denial and Distortion, before outlining the historical roots of denial. The essential background to the current rise in Holocaust distortion, he says, is “the rise of authoritarianism, populism, dictatorial regimes, nationalism, and anti-liberalism that has been sweeping the world for the past two decades or so.” 

As one of the leading scholars on the Holocaust, Professor Bauer’s work with the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance has been a major contribution to the organization’s goal of promoting Holocaust research, remembrance and education worldwide. Professor Bauer has been the Honorary Chairman of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance since 2005, having previously served as its Academic Advisor from its inception in 1998 until 2005. 

The rise of Holocaust denial and distortion is a growing concern of the IHRA, and one that requires concerted international effort to counter.  

Read the article here: Creating a “Usable” Past: On Holocaust Denial and Distortion