77 Years after the liberation of Auschwitz, we see a growing gap of knowledge of the Holocaust among young people in the EU. This must be of deepest concern to us.
77 years after the liberation of Auschwitz, knowledge of the Holocaust is in decline worldwide including in the EU. According to a survey by the Claims Conference, 57% of respondents in France, 56% in Austria do not know that six million Jews were killed in the Holocaust.
Every day against forgetting counts: I urge the EU to launch a comprehensive initiative to enhance Holocaust education across Europe. This should include enhanced curricula in schools and universities, but also increased funding and mechanisms to ensure that effective transfer of knowledge. We need the young and future generations to keep alive the common memory of the most horrible and heinous atrocities, this is our responsibility.
At the same time, we should boost our efforts against denial and distortion of the Holocaust in the Member States as well in third countries. To this regard, I welcome the UN General Assembly resolution adopted on 20 January 2022, submitted jointly by Israel and Germany, which “rejects without any reservation any denial or distortion of the Holocaust and urges Member States to develop educational programmes that will inculcate future generations with the lessons of the Holocaust.
I call on all EU Member States that have not yet done so to criminalise denial and distortion of the Holocaust. I call on all EU institutions to regularly condemn denial and distortion of the Holocaust in the Member States, as well as in third countries and to reject all attempts to rehabilitate Nazi collaborators and to relativise their role in the crimes of the Holocaust.
For a holistic memorial work, I urge the EU to continuously promote the freedom to conduct academic research on the Holocaust in the EU without political interference.