Over 250 members of the community zoomed in to hear Ambassador Michaela Küchler, president of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), address the NSW Jewish Board of Deputies plenum from Berlin on Tuesday evening.

Ambassador Küchler, Special Representative of the German Foreign Office for Relations with Jewish Organisations, Holocaust Remembrance and the Fight Against Antisemitism, shared some of the steps which her government is taking to stem the increase in antisemitic incidents.

With Germany currently chairing the European Union, she said her country is focused on spreading the importance of Holocaust education across the European continent. “Holocaust distortion” is a growing phenomenon, she warned, as opposed to Holocaust denial, which is easier to identify and counter. “Holocaust distortion brings together truths and untruths, and it always goes together with antisemitism and antisemitic opinions.”

Ambassador Küchler shared details of the work of the IHRA global taskforce against Holocaust denial and distortion; the taskforce was set up to collect evidence of incidents from IHRA member-nations and works to find and disseminate effective practices in dealing with the phenomenon.

Germany recently appointed a federal Commissioner for Jewish Life and the Fight against Antisemitism – an initiative which has since been replicated with the establishment of similar positions in all 16 German states. IHRA has developed a tool and recommendations for teaching about the Holocaust, with the course having been translated into German and distributed among all the states. “It is important to start Holocaust education as early as possible,” Ambassador Küchler emphasised.

Ambassador Küchler’s full address can be viewed here.