IHRA Honorary Chair Statement on President Trump’s Holocaust Remembrance Day message

IHRA Honorary Chairman, Professor Yehuda Bauer expresses concern over the erroneous interpretation of the Holocaust in the President Trump’s statement on the International Holocaust Memorial Day.

“As Honorary Chairman of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), with its 31 Member Countries and eleven Observer Countries, I was extremely surprised that in the statement issued on behalf of President Trump on International Holocaust Memorial Day (January 27), the Holocaust was interpreted in a deeply erroneous way, and no specific mention was made of Jews or of antisemitism, which motivated the Holocaust.

All IHRA Member Countries, including the USA, one of the founders, are committed to the 2000 Stockholm Declaration which defines the Holocaust as the genocide of the Jews in World War II, in line with repeated US statements, and not as a term that includes all the horrors committed by Nazi Germany, claiming millions of innocent victims aside from the Holocaust.

We recognize the unprecedented policy of total annihilation aimed at the Jewish people. However, the Jews are not even mentioned in the Presidential statement, thus gratuitously violating the memory of the murdered millions. On the same day, an Executive Order was issued by the President’s office, banning refugees from entering the US, singling out persons from mainly Muslim countries. This constitutes, in effect, discrimination on religious grounds, violating the Refugee Convention of 1951, of which the US is a signatory. It raises possible troubling parallels with the refusal of most countries during the Nazi period to accept refugees, especially Jewish ones.

The IHRA is committed to supporting governments in commemorating the Holocaust, and in supporting activities that lead to a culture of remembrance, aimed at a better future for all.

I am hopeful that all IHRA Member Countries, including the US, will work together with other international actors to speak out against any abuse of fundamental human rights, by anyone, anywhere. I wish to mention the Statement of the Global Centre for Responsibility to Protect, among others; we are engaged in a common effort to honor the memory of the victims, of the rescuers, and support those committed to speaking the truth about the past.”

Professor Yehuda Bauer, IHRA Honorary Chairman

The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance unites governments and experts to shape and advance Holocaust education, remembrance and research world-wide, to speak out on Holocaust related issues including antisemitism, and to uphold the commitments of the 2000 Stockholm Declaration.