Today, Croatia assumes the Presidency of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) from Sweden. Ambassador Terezija Gras, State Secretary for European Affairs, International Relations and EU Funds, and Sara Lustig, Special Advisor to the Prime Minister for Holocaust Issues, Combating Antisemitism and Relations with Jewish Organizations, are the Co-Chairs of the Croatian IHRA Presidency.
Croatia’s Presidency follows the successful Swedish Presidency, which saw the follow-up on the Malmö Forum pledges, The International Conference on the Genocide of the Roma and Combating Antigypsyism, and a powerful statement condemning Russian aggression against Ukraine.
Under the leadership of Terezija Gras and Sara Lustig, the overarching theme of the Croatian Presidency will be the Future of Remembrance, while the visual identity of the Presidency is #FORtheIHRA. Croatia will hold two plenary meetings this year: the first in Dubrovnik and the second in Zagreb. There will also be a conference on the Future of Remembrance in the second half of September in Osijek. Croatia will also hold an international conference on the genocide of the Roma.
The Croatian Prime Minister, Andrej Plenković, launched the first day of the Croatian Presidency with opening remarks. He said that “remembrance of the Shoah is more important than ever, since our generation is the last to have had the opportunity to know its survivors and witnesses. As the last Holocaust survivors leave us, the whole world will have to decide what the future of global Holocaust remembrance will be without them. We must ensure that the Holocaust is not relegated to books, films, archives and museums, and instead preserve a living memory of the darkest hours of the history, so that genocide and mass atrocity crimes will be prevented.”
The Prime Minister also laid out the Future of Remembrance Initiative: “The aim of this Initiative is to give the IHRA greater visibility, while at the same time safeguarding contemporary memory by developing digital technological solutions, promoting tolerance and the IHRA definitions, and combating hate speech in sport. This will make Holocaust remembrance, combating antisemitism and anti-Roma discrimination more accessible and relevant to all generations, despite their age and locality.
In conclusion, the Prime Minister said: “Our Presidency will be about proving that the Holocaust is not just about the past, it is also about the present, but most importantly, it is about the future!”
Dr. Kathrin Meyer, Secretary General of the IHRA, said: “The IHRA is honored to have Croatia hold the IHRA Presidency at such a critical time for the future of Holocaust remembrance. We thank outgoing IHRA Chair Ambassador Ann Bernes and the Swedish IHRA Presidency team for their exceptional leadership, navigating our organization during a year that was challenging for the entire world. We look forward to continuing this substantial work to counter Holocaust distortion and safeguard the record together with the Croatian Presidency.”