03 February 2021 Time to read: 2 mins

Statement by Foreign Minister Maas on the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance

The German cabinet today adopted a Federal Government Ordinance recognising the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) with its Permanent Office in Berlin as an international institution as defined in the Host State Law. This is the first instance in which the law that was adopted in October 2019 is being applied; as a result, the IHRA will be granted immunities and other privileges, including tax privileges. Foreign Minister Heiko Maas issued the following statement today (3 February) in this regard:

“In March, our one-year Presidency of the IHRA will come to a close – ending a year in which denial and playing down of the Holocaust reached new, shameless lows: antisemitic conspiracy theories went viral on the internet, the Holocaust was downplayed in an unbearable way at anti-coronavirus demonstrations by some participants pinning yellow stars on themselves and brandishing signs reading “Impfen macht frei”, all the way to a person storming the US Capitol wearing a “Camp Auschwitz” sweatshirt.

At the same time, these images made us all the more determined in our work for the IHRA. I am pleased that already in January we were able to publish the recommendations that were drawn up by the Global Task Force, which we also initiated, on Recognising and Countering Holocaust Distortion. And the working definition of antigypsyism/anti-Roma discrimination that the IHRA adopted in October is an important aid in our efforts to identify and take action against this form of racism.

That said, our fight against antisemitism and antigypsyism is far from over. Even though we will be passing the Presidency on to Greece in only a few weeks’ time, we want to make sure the IHRA is recognised as being on an equal footing with other international organisations. Recognition as an international institution as defined in the Host State Law makes this possible. In so doing, we are also sending a signal of international cooperation – which is something we absolutely need when it comes to both remembering the horrors of the past and shaping our future. For only by joining forces can we take action against the growing trend to distort the historical record and discriminate, and help strengthen open and tolerant democracies around the world.“

Background Information:

With its decision today, the cabinet adopted a Federal Government Ordinance that will grant the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) the juridical personality of an international institution. The IHRA will thereby enjoy the privileges and immunities that are defined for this form of organisation in the Host State Law. The respective Federal Government Ordinance will enter into force once it has been approved by the Bundesrat in a vote that is scheduled for 26 March 2021.