German Foreign Minister said ‘Holocaust denial, distortion worldwide reached new shameless lows this past year’.
Germany recognized the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) as an international institution on Wednesday, further enshrining its legislative commitment to fighting antisemitism.
As the country’s one-year presidency of the IHRA draws to a close in March, German Foreign Ministry Heiko Maas said that the previous year was one in which “Holocaust denial and distortion worldwide reached new shameless lows.”
Maas relayed that antisemitic conspiracy theories went viral on the Internet, potentially exacerbated by the fact that large swathes of various populations were locked down for weeks at a time due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which Jews were also blamed for profiting from.
He decried the downplaying of the Holocaust, with some anti-coronavirus demonstrators pinning yellow stars to their clothes and brandishing signs reading “Impfen macht frei,” (vaccinating makes you free) – a play on words of the message “Arbeit Macht Frei,” (Work makes you free) that was emblazoned on the gates at Auschwitz.
He was similarly horrified with the at least one of the rioters at January 6 storming of the US Capitol in Washington, DC, wearing a “Camp Auschwitz” sweatshirt.
“These images made us all the more determined in our work for the IHRA,” Maas said.
Germany will put IHRA “on equal footing with other international organizations,” Maas maintained, saying this was “a signal of international cooperation.”
“For only by joining forces can we take action against the growing trend to distort the historical record and discriminate,” he stated.
Germany’s move comes just a day after US President Joe Biden’s administration “embraced and championed” the IHRA definition of antisemitism.