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Saturday, April 13, 2024

U.S., Germany Studying ‘Dangerous’ Rise in Online Holocaust Denial to Develop Policy Recommendations

Rehabilitation takes place in many countries, for many reasons, ranging from transparent attempts to make heroes out of villains to serve contemporary political ends, to a lack of historical awareness. 

The text of the following statement was released by the Governments of the United States of America and the Federal Republic of Germany:

The Governments of the United States of America and the Federal Republic of Germany announce significant progress in their Dialogue on Holocaust Issues.  Secretary of State Blinken and then-Federal Foreign Minister Maas launched the Dialogue in 2021 to counter the rise in Holocaust denial and distortion — a dangerous development that undermines freedom, democracy, and security — and to contribute to a world in which knowledge about the Holocaust is abundant, based on facts, and serves as a foundation for tackling today’s challenges at an early stage.  The U.S. Department of State, the German Federal Foreign Office, the German Foundation Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum participate in the Dialogue.  They have completed initial projects in three priority areas:

Promoting Innovative and Accurate Holocaust Education and Training

We have integrated Holocaust education into the flagship Program on Applied Security Studies at the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies.  The Marshall Center is jointly funded and administered by the United States and Germany.  Over 100 senior military and civilian officials from more than 30 countries attended the pilot module in 2022, which was designed to help professionals apply lessons from the Holocaust to their own work of protecting life and democratic principles while working in a multinational context.  The module will become a permanent part of the Security Studies curriculum.

Quantifying and Evaluating Holocaust Denial and Distortion Online

Through the Dialogue, the U.S. Department of State produced a landmark study of online Holocaust Denial and Distortion.  It examined online material in 12 languages to identify content, producers, and distribution patterns of Holocaust denial and distortion, producing a comprehensive survey for policymakers.  The Federal Foreign Office has begun a complementary study of online Holocaust denial and distortion.  The two studies will contribute to a solid, quantitative base from which to develop policy recommendations.

Countering Rehabilitation of Those who Participated in the Holocaust and Holocaust-era Crimes

The Dialogue examined the growing problem of “rehabilitating” individuals who participated in the crimes of the Holocaust, producing a study that will be available to help governments, civil society partners, NGOs, universities, subject matter experts, and other interested parties understand the problem and combat it.  Rehabilitation takes place in many countries, for many reasons, ranging from transparent attempts to make heroes out of villains to serve contemporary political ends, to a lack of historical awareness.  Regardless of the motivation, “rehabilitating” those who perpetrated the Holocaust can promote impunity for war criminals, normalize antisemitism, racism, discrimination, and exclusion, increase tensions between countries, and undermine public support for democratic institutions and values-based international structures.

The Governments of the Federal Republic of Germany and the United States are committed to continuing this Dialogue.  Learning from the past, understanding what led to the Holocaust, and reflecting on its lessons and grave consequences is not only about ensuring a better future, but also about safeguarding our open democratic societies and ensuring our security now.

Each of the programs described will be developed further.  We are discussing with the Marshall Center ways to expand cooperation, including developing a program on the history of the Holocaust in Ukraine.  Once the German study is completed on Holocaust distortion and denial online, we will develop recommendations for policymakers.  Both the U.S. Department of State and Federal Foreign Office agreed to educate their workforce about rehabilitation and to further intensify their exchange with experts.   Information regarding the rehabilitation phenomenon will be shared with German and United States diplomatic missions and be publicly available once finalized.  Future efforts may also include working to identify and address challenges to Holocaust remembrance in the face of Russia’s continued war of aggression against Ukraine.

Read more at the State Department

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Homeland Security Today
The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.
Homeland Security Today
Homeland Security Todayhttp://www.hstoday.us
The Government Technology & Services Coalition's Homeland Security Today (HSToday) is the premier news and information resource for the homeland security community, dedicated to elevating the discussions and insights that can support a safe and secure nation. A non-profit magazine and media platform, HSToday provides readers with the whole story, placing facts and comments in context to inform debate and drive realistic solutions to some of the nation’s most vexing security challenges.

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