Tuesday

19th Sep 2017

Opinion

Commemorating the Holocaust in revisionist times

  • In the face of nationalist revisionism, it is time to recommit to a politics of solidarity, anti-racism and inclusion that crosses borders. (Photo: Rantes)

This year’s International Holocaust Remembrance Day, which also marks the 72nd anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp, comes several months after Poland’s right-wing government passed a law making it illegal to use the term "Polish Death Camps", in an effort to emphasize the responsibility for the Holocaust remains that of the German Nazi regime which occupied Poland.

But banning the term points to a larger trend of Holocaust revisionism across Europe and a revival of nationalist politics whose targets range from Roma and Jews—groups targeted and murdered by the Nazis on "racial" grounds—to refugees, Muslims and other racial, national and religious minorities.

Thank you for reading EUobserver!

Subscribe now and get 40% off for an annual subscription. Sale ends soon.

  1. €90 per year. Use discount code EUOBS40%
  2. or €15 per month
  3. Cancel anytime

EUobserver is an independent, not-for-profit news organization that publishes daily news reports, analysis, and investigations from Brussels and the EU member states. We are an indispensable news source for anyone who wants to know what is going on in the EU.

We are mainly funded by advertising and subscription revenues. As advertising revenues are falling fast, we depend on subscription revenues to support our journalism.

For group, corporate or student subscriptions, please contact us. See also our full Terms of Use.

If you already have an account click here to login.

In Croatia, Jewish and Serbian organisations are boycotting the government Holocaust commemoration ceremony at the former concentration camp of Jasenovac, where nearly 100,000 Serbs, Roma, Jews, Croats and Muslims were murdered.

They are protesting the government’s tolerance of plaques bearing the Nazi-allied fascist Ustasha slogan, "Ready for the Homeland", on former concentration camp sites, government buildings and other memorials.

The government has turned a blind eye to the widespread use of nationalist symbols linked to the regime, under which 500,000-1,000,000 were murdered in the so-called Independent State of Croatia (1941-1945).

Hungary’s ruling party Fidesz and its leader Viktor Orban have targeted Roma, Jews, refugees, Muslims and the LGBT community, among others, and called for a referendum last October that would block refugees from the country.

Targets remain the same

The referendum didn’t bring the needed voter turnout, but 98 percent of those who voted, voted in favour of closing doors to refugees and migrants.

The anti-migrant sentiment in Hungary has been encouraged by the government, which has also built a monument in central Budapest dedicated to the "three victim groups" of the Nazis - Jews, Roma and Hungarians - and has been producing and disseminating other revisionist histories of the Holocaust that portray Hungarians as solely victims, rather than as perpetrators or collaborators.

In the Czech Republic, where the former concentration camp at Lety has been the site of an industrial pig farm, president Zeman has been whipping up populist sentiment against Roma, Jews, refugees and Muslims and in an act of political retribution last October went so far as to withdraw a national award planned for an 88-year-old Holocaust survivor.

There is a right-wing resurgence across Europe and the world, where just this week we saw Trump’s inauguration and a meeting in Germany of Europe’s right-wing leaders, organised under the banner of "Europe of Nations and Freedom".

From Slovakia, Austria and Sweden to France, the UK, Greece and beyond, this nationalism is taking hold in the same geographical spaces as the Holocaust.

In many cases the targets remain the same - Roma, Jews and others - but Muslims, refugees and other ethnic minorities have become prime targets of xenophobic nationalism, racist violence and right-wing propaganda.

An era of building walls

All of them have been emboldened by last June’s Brexit vote in the UK and Donald Trump’s election as president of the United States and the success of his racist, anti-immigrant political platform.

We have entered an era of building walls and securing borders, marked by racism, anti-refugee, anti-Muslim, anti-Roma and anti-Semitic politics.

Much of the current political climate across the world is marked by xenophobia that has been unseen since the Nazi era.

Holocaust commemoration, education and research are more important than ever. Commemoration includes recognition of Romani and Jewish histories of persecution, remembering how dangerous it is to turn away refugees and build walls between communities.

In the face of nationalist revisionism, Holocaust denial and anti-refugee sentiment, it is time to recommit to a politics of solidarity, anti-racism and inclusion that crosses borders on this year’s International Holocaust Remembrance Day. This recommitment honours the victims, the survivors, the families and communities who suffered at the hands of the Nazis and their nationalist allies during the Holocaust.

Ethel Brooks is associate professor at Rutgers University and a member of the United States Holocaust Memorial Council

EU failing on Roma rights

EU led efforts to integrate Roma communities in Europe are failing with poverty and social exclusion pervasive throughout the minority group, according to an EU-rights agency.

How to combat anti-Semitism and Islamophobia?

The deadly attacks in Paris and Copenhagen have served as a wake-up call to European policy makers of the escalating reality of anti-Semitism, Islamophobia and racism in Europe

Ukraine: NGOs need EU help

EU governments should stop Ukraine from hampering the work of NGOs in revenge against their anti-corruption work.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EU2017EEFour Tax Initiatives to Modernise the EU's Tax System
  2. Dialogue PlatformResponsibility in Practice: Gulen & Islamic Thought
  3. Counter BalanceHuman Rights Concerns Over EIB Loan to the Trans Anatolian Pipeline Project
  4. Mission of China to the EUChina Leads the Global Clean Energy Transition
  5. CES - Silicones EuropeFrom Baking Moulds to Oven Mitts, Silicones Are a Key Ingredient in Kitchens
  6. Martens CentreFor a New Europeanism: How to Put the Motto "Unity in Diversity" Into Practice
  7. Access MBAGet Ahead With an MBA Degree. Top MBA Event in Brussels
  8. Idealist QuarterlyIdealist Quarterly Event: Building Fearless Democracies With Gerald Hensel
  9. Mission of China to the EUPresident Xi Urges Bigger Global Role for Emerging Economies
  10. EU2017EEAre We Socially Insured in the Future of Work?
  11. European Jewish CongressFrench Authorities to Root Out "Societal Antisemitism" After Jewish Family Assaulted
  12. European Federation of Local Energy CompaniesClean Energy for All? On 10.10 Top-Level Speakers Present the Clean Energy Package

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. UNICEFUp to Three Quarters of Children Face Abuse & Exploitation on Mediterranean Migration Routes
  2. Swedish EnterprisesEurope Under Challenge; Recipe for a Competitive EU
  3. European Public Health AllianceCall to International Action to Break Deadlock on Chronic Diseases Crisis
  4. CES - Silicones EuropePropelling the construction revolution with silicones
  5. EU2017EEEU 2018 Budget: A Case of Three Paradoxes
  6. ACCAUS 'Dash for Gas' Could Disrupt Global Gas Markets
  7. Swedish Enterprises“No Time to Lose” Film & Debate on How Business & Politics Can Fight Climate Change
  8. European Free AllianceSave The Date!! 26.09 - Coppieters Awards To... Carme Forcadell
  9. European Jewish CongressEJC Expresses Grave Concern Over Rise in Antisemitism in Poland
  10. EU2017EECybersecurity and the Estonian Presidency
  11. European Free AllianceFemu a Corsica. A Corsican Nationalist Party With a European Dimension
  12. Salzburg Global SeminarSeminar on Sharing Experiences Across Borders to Combat Extremism