International Holocaust remembrance, a timely reminder of the need to step up efforts to fight racism and antisemitism in the EU

The Holocaust Memorial in Berlin.
The Holocaust Memorial in Berlin.
International Holocaust Memorial Day, on 27 January, marks the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, and honours the millions of victims that suffered at the hands of the Nazi regime.

The initial findings of FRA’s latest survey on antisemitism underline the need to reflect on the lessons of the Holocaust in order to more effectively combat the racism, antisemitism and political extremism that we are witnessing across the EU today.

“Antisemitism in the EU remains high, as initial findings from FRA’s survey reveal,” said Morten Kjaerum, FRA Director. “Three-quarters of respondents say that the situation has got worse in the past five years with online antisemitism being more common. Clearly Europe and its Member States face serious challenges of racism and antisemitism. But we can all learn from the past for the future. This is why greater understanding of human rights through history can empower us to act and try to make a difference to those who are regular victims of hate crime, threats and violence.”

In 2013, FRA will publish the results of its extensive research into hate crime. In June, FRA will publish its annual report on antisemitism in the EU, followed by findings from its survey of Jewish people’s experiences and perceptions of antisemitism in the autumn. It will also release results from its EU-wide surveys on hate crime against lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people in May, and on violence against women in October. This year, FRA’s annual Fundamental Rights Conference in November 2013 will also focus specifically on hate crime.

The first-ever official annual International Holocaust Remembrance Day event took place at the European Parliament in Brussels on 22 January. FRA reaffirms its commitment to continue its work preserving the memory of the Holocaust as an important part of raising awareness on antisemitism and promoting human rights. Since 2006, FRA has conducted research on Holocaust and Human Rights Education and published handbooks on human rights education at Holocaust memorial sites and guidance for schools and teachers. The agency has also worked together with memorial sites and museums bridging in practice human rights and Holocaust education. In partnership with Yad Vashem, FRA has also published an online toolkit for teachers to teach Holocaust and Human Rights Education.