BERLIN 01.03.2024 – Today, the United Kingdom assumes the Presidency of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) from Croatia. Lord Eric Pickles, the UK’s Post Holocaust Issues Envoy, is the Chair of the UK IHRA Presidency.  

The UK’s Presidency follows the successful Croatian Presidency, which under the motto of “The Future of Remembrance,” saw the adoption of key IHRA resources, the Recommendations on Archival Access, the IHRA Charter for Safeguarding Sites, and IHRA Reflections on Terminology for Holocaust Comparison, hosted the Second International Conference on the Genocide of the Roma and Combating Antigypsyism, and drafted a new report on efforts to counter Holocaust distortion to mark the 10th anniversary of the IHRA working definition of Holocaust distortion and denial.  

At the Presidency handover ceremony, IHRA Co-Chair Ambassador Terezija Gras expressed that, “this year has also had an immense impact on Croatia itself. We will never be the same Member Country as we were before the IHRA Presidency. This is one of the major legacies of the IHRA Presidency in Croatia and we know it will have a lasting impact on Holocaust education, remembrance, and research.” Co-Chair Sara Lustig stated that, “regardless of the challenges the IHRA faces in the years ahead, we know that all of you will take good care of each other and unite when fighting for a stronger IHRA and for the Future of Remembrance. We are honored and humbled to have had the opportunity to guide this organization over the past year.” 

The UK takes over the IHRA Presidency with the theme “In Plain Sight,” with incoming IHRA Chair Lord Pickles addressing the handover ceremony: “Key to our Presidency will be our efforts to highlight the nature of society that allowed the murder of six million Jews. We will explore why so many people witnessed, facilitated, participated, and frankly benefited from the Holocaust.” 

The UK will preside over the 25th anniversary of the Stockholm Declaration, providing ample opportunity to remind Member Countries of their commitments. It will also observe the 80th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by organizing a project to show the history of the Holocaust in 80 objects. To engage young people in Holocaust remembrance, a project called “My Hometown” will be launched to encourage young people to examine the local elements of Holocaust history in the UK and throughout the IHRA’s Member Countries. 

The UK, assuming the IHRA Presidency amidst a concerning rise in antisemitism since 7 October, is committed to addressing this pressing issue head-on. Upcoming conferences on antisemitism by the OSCE and in Austria provide opportunity for international cooperation on the issue. Additionally, recognizing the growing issue of Holocaust distortion, the UK plans to convene a small conference in the Channel Islands. 

There will be a focus on tackling antisemitism in sports, drawing inspiration from successful initiatives in the Netherlands and Germany. Moreover, the UK plans to host a conference on Roma issues tied to Roma Genocide Remembrance Day, seeking guidance from IHRA delegates on inclusive participation. 

The UK’s inaugural Plenary in Glasgow will feature a teacher conference led by UK IHRA delegate Paula Cowan, aiming to equip educators with tools to address Holocaust education effectively. Furthermore, there is an aim to foster dialogue in February through a discussion event, exploring shared experiences in museum construction, aligning with the development of the new Holocaust Memorial Centre in London. The UK seeks to leverage collective resources and expertise to confront antisemitism and preserve historical memory effectively. 

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