Guided by the theme “working and remembering in a digital context,” the 2020 Leipzig Plenary brought together over 250 delegates from the IHRA’s 34 Member, 1 Liaison and 7 Observer Countries, as well as its 8 Permanent International Partners to discuss the latest developments in the field of Holocaust education, remembrance and research.
The COVID-19 pandemic and its effects colored much of the discussions in the Working Groups and Committees, where experts discussed innovative solutions to unprecedented challenges. The Chair of the Museums and Memorials Working Group provided the IHRA Plenary with a thorough report on what type of support such institutions would require, as many were facing the threat of permanent closure without it.
The IHRA’s experts in the Committee on Antisemitism and Holocaust Denial delved deep into the concerning increase in antisemitic conspiratorial thinking.
IHRA Chair Ambassador Michaela Küchler also encouraged delegates to explore the opportunities of the digital realm. An impulse lecture on representations of the Holocaust and the Second World War in digital games by Dr Nico Nolden from the University of Hannover provided an overview of the misuse of this history along with unique insight into new ways of engaging younger generations.
The efforts of the IHRA’s Global Task Force Against Holocaust Distortion, which presented an outline of its forthcoming recommendations to the Plenary, are timely especially given the rise in Holocaust distortion at demonstrations against social distancing measures, and will provide much-needed guidance on this phenomenon. “It is essential to increase awareness about Holocaust distortion among policy- and decision-makers,” said Karina Häuslmeier, the Head of the German Delegation.
The IHRA Recommendations for Teaching and Learning about the Holocaust have been translated into 8 languages, with 14 more in progress and expected to be available soon.
The recently adopted working definition of Antigypsyism/Anti-Roma Discrimination, as well as its implementation and dissemination were discussed at the Committee on the Genocide of the Roma as were plans to develop further materials for teaching and learning about this genocide.