“We share a commitment to throw light on the still obscured shadows of the Holocaust. We will take all necessary steps to facilitate the opening of archives in order to ensure that all documents bearing on the Holocaust are available to researchers.”
– Article 7 of the Stockholm Declaration

Furthering Holocaust research and open access to Holocaust-related archival material

To a large extent and for decades, the documentation of the Holocaust and its historical context has been scattered, endangered, and in many cases inaccessible. Overcoming new and existing impositions on researchers requires broad international cooperation and a reaffirmation of IHRA Member Countries’ commitments to ensure full access to the material record of the Holocaust.

The IHRA has worked with governments and archival networks to overcome obstacles to archival access. This includes the development of the IHRA working definition of Holocaust-related materials (2012), the online survey on “Accessing Holocaust-Related Archival Material” and its Addendum (2014), the inclusion of a specific reference to the Holocaust in the General Data Protection Regulation (2016), the Final Recommendations of the Access to Archives IHRA Project (2017), and, most recently, the launch of the Monitoring Access to Holocaust Collections IHRA Project. The IHRA also organizes academic conferences and produces publications, which are free to download, to contribute to the body of scholarship on the Holocaust.

The IHRA's Academic Working Group

“We, the IHRA Member Countries, safeguard the historical record of the Holocaust, the genocide of the Roma, and the persecution of other victims by Nazi Germany and those fascist and extreme nationalist partners and other collaborators who participated in these crimes.”

– Article 11 of the 2020 IHRA Ministerial Declaration

The IHRA encourages all countries and societies to address their respective pasts by dealing openly and accurately with the historical record. To that end, the IHRA’s Academic Working Group (AWG) monitors and advises on issues related to freedom of research, access to archives, new developments in Holocaust studies and resources on the Holocaust. Made up of experts in the field of academia from the IHRA’s Member, Liaison and Observer Countries, the AWG bridges the divide between experts and governments, and provides policy and decision makers with unique insight into how to promote academic research on the complex topic of the Holocaust.

The AWG is currently chaired by Irena Šumi (Slovenia).

Holocaust-era documentation, Yad Vashem Archives. Courtesy of Yad Vashem.