The Stockholm Conference. Education about, the commemoration of, and research on the Holocaust
An international conference (http://www.holocaustforum.gov.se/) on education about, the commemoration of, and research on the Holocaust was held in Stockholm from January 26-28, 2000. The government of Sweden was the host, and invited conferees from 45 countries. The conference was intended to provide participating countries with an opportunity to express their intention to combat racism, antisemitism, and ethnic conflicts, from the starting point of the Holocaust. An exchange of views and experiences took place during panel discussions and workshops.
The conference issued a joint final declaration:
- The Holocaust (the Shoah) was a fundamental threat to the foundations of our civilization. The unprecedented nature of the Holocaust has a lasting, universal significance. Although half a century has already passed, there are still people living among us who can testify about the horror of the destruction that consumed the Jewish people. The terrible suffering of many other victims of the Nazis has left unhealed scars all across Europe.
- We must remain conscious of the dimensions of the Holocaust that was planned and carried out by the Nazis. The memory of those who opposed Nazism and of those who devoted their own lives to protect or rescue the victims of the Holocaust remains inscribed in our hearts. The depths of horror, but also the summits of human heroism can be a measure of what man is capable of, in doing good and in doing evil.
- Humanity remains under the threat of genocide, ethnic cleansing, racism, antisemitism, and xenophobia. The international community therefore bears a serious responsibility to fight against these forms of evil. We are responsible for conveying the terrible truth about the Holocaust, despite those who deny it. . . .
- We pledge to intensify our efforts to support education, commemoration, and research on the subject of the Holocaust. . . .
- . . . We also pledge to promote education on the theme of the Holocaust in schools and institutions of higher education, in our communities and institutions.
- . . . We will support appropriate forms of preserving the memory of the Holocaust, including annual Holocaust Day ceremonies in each of our countries.
- . . . We will take all necessary steps to create archives in order to ensure that all documents on the Holocaust become available to researchers.
- We regard it as appropriate for this first international conference on such a level in the new millennium to pledge itself to create a basis for a better future on the grounds of a bitter past. We sympathize with the suffering of the victims and draw inspiration from their struggle. We pledge to remember those who died, to show respect to those who are still living among us, and to uphold the shared aspiration of mankind for mutual understanding and justice.
The guests taking part in the conference included President Aleksander Kwasniewski, President Fernando de la Rúa of Argentina, President Vaira Vike-Freiberga of Latvia, Prime Minister Ehud Barak of Israel, and Chancellor Gerhard Schröder of Germany.
Members of the Polish delegation included three Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum staffers, who took part in the panel discussions and workshops. Publications connected with Polish memorial sites, as well as the recently activated Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum internet site were on display.
Teresa Swiebocka, senior custodian of the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum, spoke about the role of memorial sites in commemoration and education and the history of the Museum, while Franciszek Piper, head of the Research Department at the Museum, presented the problem of memory and knowledge about Auschwitz in Poland.