“Remembrance plays a critical role in fighting the persistent forces of antisemitism and Holocaust denial and distortion. This is because remembrance ties us fundamentally to the facts, to what took place and the people it affected,” said IHRA Chair Ambassador Michaela Küchler, at B’nai B’rith International’s commemorative event on 1 February.
This event, held 76 years after the liberation of Auschwitz, was hosted by the EU Affairs branch of B’nai B’rith International. It comprised of two panels: the first focused on the importance of remembrance as an international commitment, and the second discussed innovation as a driving force for remembrance.
In addition to the IHRA Chair, the event featured video addresses from Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission; Audrey Azoulay, Director-General of UNESCO; Marija Pejčinović Burić, Secretary General of the Council of Europe; and Matteo Mecacci, Director of OSCE/ODIHR.
“We must listen to the survivors, to preserve their stories and their message with great care. And we must look after them in this time,” said Ambassador Küchler, paying tribute to the many survivors who have already been lost to the corona pandemic. She stressed that the need for social isolation from friends and family is a great burden on survivors all over the world, who due to their age are in the demographic most vulnerable to the virus.
“Antisemitism did not end with the Shoah,” said President von der Leyen, discussing how, in the wake of the corona pandemic, antisemitic myths and conspiracy theories have once again risen in prominence. President von der Leyen then shared an update about #ProtectTheFacts, a joint campaign recently launched by the European Commission, the IHRA, UNESCO and the United Nations to combat Holocaust distortion. More on this campaign is available at the microsite, againstholocaustdistortion.org.
The entire event, which was streamed live, is now available on B’nai Brith’s Facebook page.