On 1 March the UK launched its presidency of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). Lord Pickles, the UK’s Post Holocaust Issues Envoy, and one of this country’s greatest and longstanding advocates of Holocaust education, is chairing the presidency.

The theme for the year is, ‘In Plain Sight’. It will consider the nature of society that allowed the murder of six million Jews, and how it came to be that so many witnessed, facilitated, turned a blind eye to and benefitted from it across Europe. This theme will be weaved through a number of events and engagements across the year including a teachers’ conference in June in Glasgow and an international IHRA schools project entitled, ‘My Hometown’. This project invites students from the UK and across the IHRA member countries to research and examine local elements of Holocaust history. This will provide an opportunity to discover previously unknown local stories relating to the Holocaust and bring them to light. It would be great to see schools in our Centre’s network participate in this high-profile national initiative. Details will follow shortly.

The presidency will also see the 25th anniversary of the Stockholm Declaration where each IHRA country made commitments to educating and remembering the Holocaust, countering antisemitism and other forms of hate. It will also observe the 80th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz by organising a special project of 80 objects relating to this history. The publication of a new online publication, ‘Recommendations on Teaching and Learning about the Roma Genocide‘, will also be launched.

At the official handover to the UK presidency, and in reference to the recent unprecedented levels of antisemitic incidents in the UK, Lord Pickles stated: 

“The UK, assuming the IHRA Presidency amidst a concerning rise in antisemitism since 7 October, is committed to addressing this pressing issue head-on. Upcoming conferences on antisemitism by the OSCE and in Austria provide opportunity for international cooperation on the issue. Additionally, recognizing the growing issue of Holocaust distortion, the UK plans to convene a small conference in the Channel Islands.

For more information on any of these IHRA initiatives you can contact Ruth-Anne Lenga.

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