“Our commitment must be to remember the victims who perished, respect the survivors still with us, and reaffirm humanity's common aspiration for mutual understanding and justice.”
-- Declaration of the Stockholm International Forum on the Holocaust
On 14 April, the European Parliament adopted the EU data protection legislation, which will come into force in two years’ time.
The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance was pleased that on Friday 18 December 2015 the EU came to an agreement on a version of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)) whcih included a specific reference to the Holocaust.
Considering the supreme importance of the Holocaust in the foundation of the European community following World War II and in light of rising antisemitism across Europe, which is most often connected to distortion and denial of the Holocaust, IHRA was glad that its comprehensive campaign in Brussels to raise awareness of the potential impact of the GDPR on Holocaust-related research has led to the inclusion of the specific reference to the Holocaust in the recitals of the legislation.
A press release issued by the vice-chair of the European Parliament Committee for Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, Jan Phillip Albrecht, and European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality,Věra Jourová, stated:
"It has been a long journey since January 2012 when the European Commission put forward its proposals. We have been working hard with national governments, Members of the European Parliament, businesses, academics and NGOs to design new rules that uphold the fundamental right to data protection guaranteed by the EU’s Charter of Fundamental Rights, bring benefits for citizens, businesses, and public administrations alike, and are future-proof and open to innovation. And by working together we have achieved a very good result."
The European Commission will now work closely with member states, the national data protection authorities and stakeholders to ensure the rules will be applied uniformly across the EU.
Recital 125b of the GDPR now reads:
"Where personal data are processed for archiving purposes, this Regulation should also apply to that processing, bearing in mind that this Regulation should not apply to deceased persons. Public authorities or public or private bodies that hold records of public interest should be services which, pursuant to Union or Member State law, have a legal obligation to acquire, preserve, appraise, arrange, describe, communicate, promote, disseminate and provide access to records of enduring value for general public interest. Member States should also be authorised to provide that personal data may be further processed for archiving purposes, for example with a view to providing specific information related to the political behaviour under former totalitarian state regimes, genocide, crimes against humanity, in particular the Holocaust, or war crimes."
The IHRA is the only intergovernmental organization which brings together both political representatives and academic experts working on Holocaust-related issues. Read more about the IHRA here.
24 of IHRA’s 31 member countries are also members of the European Union. IHRA’s founding document, the Stockholm Declaration, to which all 31 member countries are committed, states the unprecedented nature of the Holocaust and obliges countries to “take all necessary steps to facilitate the opening of archives in order to ensure that all documents bearing on the Holocaust are available to researchers.”