“We share a commitment to throw light on the still obscured shadows of the Holocaust.”
-- Declaration of the Stockholm International Forum on the Holocaust
Slovakia's membership of the IHRA is an expression of its will to be among states that actively support education on the Holocaust, its remembrance and research. It wasn't until 1989 that scientific investigation in this field was renewed without ideological bias and the void in Slovak history began to be filled.
After the renewal of democracy in Czechoslovakia, in December 1990 the Slovak Parliament and the Slovak Government issued a "Declaration on the deportation of Jews from Slovakia to concentration camps in 1942 and 1944." In the declaration, members of parliament and of the government showed their sympathy for those Jewish fellow citizens, expressed their regret for the crimes committed against them, and apologized for the acts of their predecessors.
In 2001 the Slovak Parliament dedicated a “Memorial Day to the Victims of the Holocaust and Racial Violence.” The day was established in remembrance of 9th September 1941, when the government of the then Slovak State issued a decree, the so-called Jewish Codex, which marked the beginning of persecution of Jews in the country. Many events are held every year on this occasion, such as the laying of wreaths at the Holocaust Memorial under the auspices of the President of the Slovak Republic, as well as conferences, seminars and lectures on the Holocaust, racial violence and antisemitism (see below).
The Holocaust is taught at all levels of the school system, including universities. In primary and secondary schools, the Holocaust is not only an integral part of history classes, but also of civic and ethics education. The training of teachers in this field has also advanced successfully, thanks to IHRA support.
In 2013, the Slovak Ministry of Education signed an agreement with EDAH, a non-governmental organization for teacher-training activities. In cooperation with other organizations, EDAH actively engages teachers and students in various projects devoted to Holocaust education and commemoration. In cooperation with expert trainers, EDAH also prepares, various educational materials for teaching purposes and organizes educational events aimed at familiarizing the public with the Holocaust.
Besides the above mentioned institutions, the Holocaust Documentation Centre is another key player in education on the Holocaust. In 2006 – 2012 the Centre was utilized for Ministry of Education seminars and published pedagogical materials for high school teachers. With international partners (Yad Vashem, Memorial Ghetto Terezin, Wannsee Conference House, Shoah Foundation Institute for Visual History SCU) the Centre prepares seminars for teachers – and other multiplicators. The Centre also conducts new accredited programs for teachers – using selected aspects and methods in Education on the Holocaust in Slovakia. Moreover the Centre in cooperation with the Bratislava Jewish Community Museum organizes teaching programs for students at authentic sites.
In 2005, the museum opened another permanent exhibition of the Holocaust located in the synagogue building of Nitra with the title "Fates of Slovak Jews." In 2008 the museum assumed administrative responsibility for the five original buildings of the Sered labour and concentration camp. Upon reconstruction a new Holocaust Museum Sered shall be created there, devoted to all the collection centers in Slovakia and providing education regarding the Holocaust.Museum of the Slovak National Uprising in Banska Bystrica, the permanent exhibition "Slovakia in the Anti-Fascist Resistance Movement of Europe 1939-1945" was created in 2004. In 2007, on the occasion of the 65th anniversary of the beginning of deportation of Slovak Jews, the museum put together a touring exhibition which travelled to Slovak cities under the name "Wagon." The exhibition was installed in two railroad wagons similar to those used to transport Slovak Jews to the concentration camps.
Since 1998 the Milan Simecka Foundation in cooperation with the Jewish Community in Slovakia and The Holocaust Documentation Centre has issued 8 volumes of edited documents "Holokaust na Slovensku" (Holocaust in Slovakia). Leading Slovak historians have edited documents which cover almost all basic aspects of the history of anti-Jewish measures and policies in Slovakia 1939-1945. Apart from that the Centre published several monographs including the first books on history of the Labor and Concentration Camp in Sered or the Jewish children during the Holocaust. In cooperation with other organizations it also prepares lectures, seminars and international academic conferences.
The Centre works also on the digitalization of relevant documents (available on the web site www.holokaust.sk) and the creation of important databases related to the Holocaust era (the list of Jewish victims of the Holocaust in Slovakia and records of the Sered concentration camp).
Professor Pavol Mešťan monitors, analyzes and provided an exhaustive overview of antisemitism in Slovak politics from the fall of the totalitarian regime until today. This research took place with the long-term cooperation of Tel Aviv University, and its results are reported in books titled "Anti-Semitism in Slovak Politics," published in both Slovak and English by the Slovak National Museum – Museum of Jewish Culture in Bratislava.
It is also important to mention the activity of The Nation´s Memory Institute (Ustav pamati naroda) which published online the database of liquidated Jewish enterprises.