International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance Publishes Guidelines to Combat ‘Pernicious Threat of Holocaust Distortion’
As the world prepares to mark International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Wednesday, the leading international organization dedicated to preserving the memory of the victims of Nazism has issued guidelines to combat the growing problem of “Holocaust distortion.”
A new website — “Protect The Facts” — was unveiled on Monday by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). The site came online one year after Germany, during its presidency of the IHRA, announced a Global Task Force Against Holocaust Distortion, a phenomenon it argued was “more difficult to identify than Holocaust denial.”
Opening with a quote from the late Holocaust survivor and Nobel Prize-winning writer Elie Wiesel that “it is up to us to save [memory] from becoming cheap, banal, and sterile,” a report published this month by the IHRA’s Task Force stated that although “[Holocaust] denial is still a significant problem, Holocaust distortion has become in many ways a more pernicious threat.”
The report emphasized that references to the Holocaust “that mischaracterize and distort its history and relevance are an insult to the memories and experiences of victims and survivors.”
“Holocaust distortion erodes our understanding of this history and nourish conspiracy theories, dangerous forms of nationalism, Holocaust denial, and antisemitism,” it said.
The IHRA identified several ways in which the Holocaust is distorted in modern discourse, including “intentional efforts to excuse or minimize the impact of the Holocaust or its principal elements, including collaborators and allies of Nazi Germany,” accusing Jews of “‘using’ the Holocaust for some manner of gain,” and the deployment of “imagery and language associated with the Holocaust for political, ideological, or commercial purposes unrelated to this history in online and offline forums.”
The report concluded: “Regardless of the motivations, all forms of Holocaust distortion risk inviting or building legitimacy for more dangerous forms of hate: Distortion can undermine the historical and contemporary importance of this unprecedented tragedy and its lessons for today.”