Statement of the ITF Chair regarding the European Parliament resolution on European conscience and totalitarianism

The IHRA Chair strongly encourages the international community to commemorate 27 January, the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp and the International Day of Commemoration honoring the victims of the Holocaust.

The following statement is issued by the Chair of the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance, and Research (formerly ITF, now IHRA), Ambassador Tom Vraalsen, in conjunction with the resolution passed by the European Parliament on 2 April 2009, determining 23 August, the date on which in 1939 the infamous Ribbentrop-Molotov agreement was signed between Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, as a date of remembrance to victims of both regimes.

Statement of Chairman Amb. Tom Vraalsen:

Recognizing the importance of commemorating all victims of totalitarian and authoritarian regimes in Europe during the twentieth century, the Chair of the ITF, in accordance with the above-mentioned European Parliament resolution that acknowledges the uniqueness of the Holocaust, wishes to emphasize the unprecedented character of the Holocaust as a catastrophe, which fundamentally challenged the foundations of civilization.

ITF Member States are committed to the Declaration of the Stockholm International Forum on the Holocaust, which acknowledges the need to preserve the memory of the Holocaust for future generations by promoting education, remembrance and research about the Holocaust, and by commemorating its victims.

In light of the recent growth of revisionism and of attempts to deny or diminish the reality of the Holocaust, the Chair of the ITF underscores the importance of remembering the victims of the Holocaust as well as those who stood against it, and encourages the study of the Holocaust in all its dimensions, including the acts of its perpetrators and their collaborators.

This serious matter and its implications will be further discussed by the ITF in the proceedings at its upcoming Plenary Meeting in Trondheim, Norway, on 30 November – 2 December 2009.

Finally, the ITF Chair strongly encourages everyone to observe and appropriately commemorate 27 January, the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp and the day designated by the United Nations as an annual International Day of Commemoration to honor the victims of the Holocaust (UN Resolution A/RES/60/7.)