EHRI acknowledged in European Commission’s Strategy on antisemitism

Wednesday, 6 October, 2021

On Tuesday 5th October 2021, the EU launched its first ever Strategy on combating antisemitism and fostering Jewish life. Antisemitism is worryingly on the rise, not only in Europe but globally. Contemporary antisemitism occurs in many ways, from online hate speech to hate crimes and attacks on Jewish people, their property and institutions, or as desecration of cemeteries and memorials. Incredibly, despite the long-standing presence of Jews in Europe, people have little knowledge of Jewish life and Judaism. Currently, Holocaust denial, distortion and trivialisation are increasing and are often used to feed hatred against Jewish people and to rewrite European and Jewish history.

The EU Strategy on combating antisemitism is built around 3 pillars: (1) preventing and combating all forms of antisemitism; (2) protecting and fostering Jewish life in the EU; and (3) education, research and Holocaust remembrance. The European Holocaust Research Infrastructure (EHRI) is built upon fostering education, research and Holocaust remembrance and EHRI’s work, therefore, naturally complements this Strategy. For decades, Holocaust survivors have shared their stories as part of the remembrance tradition. Today however, all of the survivors have grown old or passed away. Preserving and honouring their legacy, making sure their stories are not forgotten and are retold accurately, and finding new forms of remembrance are challenges and duties for this generation and future generations of Europeans, is a task that EHRI fully supports and enables.

EHRI is the largest EU-funded research project on the Holocaust, connecting research communities by making available dispersed sources related to the Holocaust. EHRI’s mission is to to overcome the geographical fragmentation of sources and expertise and set standards for excellence in transnational Holocaust research, education and remembrance. As such, EHRI continually develops and maintains a distributed, digital and human infrastructure that provides access to resources and services to a diverse community, including Holocaust researchers, digital humanists, archivists and heritage professionals. Holocaust denial, distortion and trivialisation are often used to feed hatred against Jewish people and in an attempt to rewrite European and Jewish history. Their corrosive effects for collective historic memory and for the resilience and cohesion of our democratic societies should not be underestimated and need to be specifically addressed. EHRI will, therefore, expand its research focus to support research on the manifestations of antisemitism that led to the Holocaust.

EHRI has recently published a position paper that highlights its intrinsic importance to research on antisemitism and the fight against antisemitism (see https://www.ehri-project.eu/sites/default/files/downloads/ehri_downloads/EHRI%20-%20Position%20Paper%20Antisemitism.pdf). EHRI is delighted that the EC duly acknowledges EHRI as an important pillar in the implementation of its strategy on antisemitism, and that it encourages member states to politically and financially support EHRI’s transition from a series of projects into a permanent European research organisation.

President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen said: “Today we commit to fostering Jewish life in Europe in all its diversity. We want to see Jewish life thriving again in the heart of our communities. This is how it should be. The Strategy we are presenting today is a step change in how we respond to antisemitism. Europe can only prosper when its Jewish communities feel safe and prosper.”

Use the hashtag #No2Antisemitism on social media and use the links below to learn more about this important EU policy:

Press release about the strategy: https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/ip_21_4990

Factsheet about the strategy: https://ec.europa.eu/info/files/factsheet-eu-strategy-combating-antisemitism-and-fostering-jewish-life_en

Q&A on the strategy: https://ec.europa.eu/commission/presscorner/detail/en/qanda_21_4991

Web page about the strategy: https://ec.europa.eu/info/policies/justice-and-fundamental-rights/combatting-discrimination/racism-and-xenophobia/combating-antisemitism/strategy-combating-antisemitism-and-fostering-jewish-life-eu_en

The strategy itself: https://ec.europa.eu/info/files/eu-strategy-combating-antisemitism-and-fostering-jewish-life-2021-2030_en