The United Nations General Assembly passed by consensus a new resolution on Thursday, which calls on States and non-state actors to take active measures against Holocaust denial. The vote coincided with the 80th anniversary of the Wannsee Conference, where fifteen senior Nazi German officials met to discuss the coordination and implementation of the mass extermination of European Jewry.
Reacting to the passage of the resolution, WJC President Ronald S. Lauder said, “Holocaust denial is not merely just a historically inaccurate statement. It has become a cornerstone of antisemitic incitement, white supremacy and other extremist movements. Today’s resolution is an unambiguous message that if you deny the Holocaust, if you deny the story of the Jewish people, you are propagating antisemitism.”
The resolution “urges all member states to reject without any reservation any denial of the Holocaust as a historical event, in either full or in part, or any activities to this end” and asks, “member states and social media companies to take active measures to combat antisemitism and Holocaust denial” through “information and communication technologies.”
According to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, “Holocaust denial is discourse and propaganda that deny the historical reality and the extent of the extermination of the Jews by the Nazis and their accomplices during World War II, known as the Holocaust or the Shoah. Holocaust denial refers specifically to any attempt to claim that the Holocaust/Shoah did not take place.” In short, it is an attempt to negate the facts of the Nazi genocide of the Jewish people—a belief that the Holocaust did not happen or was greatly exaggerated.”
In short, Holocaust denial is a grand conspiracy myth, which asks people to conclude that Holocaust survivors who provided witness statements would have to be wrong; all other non-Jewish bystanders who testified that they saw Jews being marched to the outskirts of their towns would have to be lying; historians who studied the history of the Holocaust have been mistaken or completely misinterpreted the facts; and the perpetrators themselves - those who actually admitted their guilt - could only have testified under torture.
The WJC is committed to combat all manifestations of Holocaust denial, trivialization, or minimization, or any distortion, falsification, or misrepresentation of Holocaust history. This dimension of preserving and protecting the authentic history of the Shoah is especially important at a time when efforts are being made, especially in different parts of Eastern and Central Europe, to misrepresent the facts of the Holocaust as part of a political or social agenda.
In line with these efforts, the WJC worked closely with Israel’s Ministry of the Diaspora Affairs to provide Amazon with an extensive list of nearly 700 pieces of online content denying the Holocaust. After extensive engagement with the WJC, one of the biggest book retailers operating in Germany and Austria, Thalia, removed over 300 books denying the Holocaust. In Latin America, after extensive engagement with the WJC, the largest online retailer in Latin America, Mercado Libre, also agreed to remove online listings of literature that promote hateful and antisemitic content.
The WJC and UNESCO established the online education resource AboutHolocaust.org with the goal of providing essential information about the history of the Holocaust and its legacy to the widest possible audience of young people and future generations. With content currently available in 19 languages, the online tool includes easy-to-read facts about the Holocaust and survivor testimonies reviewed by leading experts in the field of Holocaust studies, designed to address gaps in knowledge and to counter the misinformation that circulates across social media and other online forums. On International Holocaust Remembrance Day in 2021, the WJC and Facebook announced that Facebook users searching for Holocaust related terms will be directed to AboutHolocaust.org.