Germany assumed chairmanship of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) this week, and pledged that as part of its mandate would continue to fight Holocaust denial. Ambassador Michaela Küchler, the German Foreign Office's special commissioner for relations with Jewish organizations, is set to head the German IHRA team.
In remarks to the official handover ceremony at the House of Representatives in Berlin, Ambassador Küchler emphasized that Holocaust “remembrance has no end.”
"We will preserve the memory of the victims and survivors forever. We will do everything we can to ensure that the legacy of the murdered men, women, and children remains inscribed in the memory of humanity," Küchler said.
Other speakers at the ceremony included Ralf Wieland, President of the House of Representatives in Berlin, and Michael Roth, German Minister of State for Europe. The ceremony was attended by political and Jewish leaders, including representatives of the Bundestag, and members of the Roma and Sinti community.
Preparations are already underway for the biannual IHRA Plenary meeting this year. The first Plenary will occur in Berlin in June, while the second will occur in Leipzig in November, and will primarily focus on creating a "Global Task Force against Holocaust falsification." The agenda this upcoming year for IHRA also includes antiziganism, or hostility towards Sinti and Roma, and an early warning system for potential future genocides.
During a press briefing at the German Foreign Ministry last Thursday, Ambassador Küchler explained that in its role as chair of IHRA, Germany would combat Holocaust denial and distortion, saying that “it is obvious that this is a significant problem and one we will take even more seriously.”
In an opinion piece in The Jerusalem Post, German Ambassador to Israel Susanne Wasum-Rainer confirmed that another key focus of the German chairmanship will be education.
"Education is key to fostering remembrance and countering antisemitism," she wrote. "Therefore, during our IHRA chairmanship, we plan to promote the IHRA recommendations on teaching and learning about the Holocaust. The recommendations were adopted by the IHRA last year and are currently being translated into the languages of all IHRA member countries."