“We share a commitment to throw light on the still obscured shadows of the Holocaust.”
-- Declaration of the Stockholm International Forum on the Holocaust
The United States Department of State's Office of the Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues develops and implements U.S. policy with respect to the return of Holocaust-era assets to their rightful owners, compensation for wrongs committed during the Holocaust, and Holocaust remembrance. The Office does this in a manner that complements and supports broader U.S. interests and initiatives in a Europe committed to democracy, pluralism, human rights, and tolerance. The Office seeks to bring a measure of justice and assistance to Holocaust victims and their families and to create an infrastructure to assure that the Holocaust is remembered properly and accurately. This is an important issue in our bilateral relations with countries of central and eastern Europe and with the state of Israel. Nicholas Dean – the Special Envoy - represents the United States at the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance.
In the last decade Holocaust education, remembrance and research have grown significantly in the United States. In 2007, there were 185 organizations in the United States dealing with the subject; today 212 organizations are listed in the Association of Holocaust Organizations’ (AHO) Directory. Some of these organizations are national in scope and others are regional. Most, however, are local. Some of these local organizations are part of colleges and universities, some are part of Jewish communities, and some are independent. All are engaged in Holocaust education and remembrance; a few also engage in research. In addition, survivor and second generation organizations promote remembrance and research as well.
The United States Congress established Days of Remembrance as the nation’s annual commemoration of the Holocaust. Observances and remembrance activities occur during the week of remembrance that runs from the Sunday before Holocaust Remembrance Day (Yom Hashoah) through the following Sunday.
Accessibility to massive amounts of rich documentation of the Holocaust supports research across the United States at a variety of repositories, including the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM), the USC Shoah Foundation, the National Archives and Records Administration, and hundreds of university and public libraries.
The Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies of USHMM is internationally recognized as the most significant generator of new research on the Holocaust. Established in 1998, the Center has strengthened Holocaust studies by providing research and teaching resources, fellowship and programmatic opportunities, publications, and campus outreach to support the work of scholars in the multiple academic disciplines through which the Holocaust is studied and taught. In addition, in-house research projects, such as the Encyclopedia of Camps and Ghettos, 1933-1945, continue to provide new insights into the Holocaust. Seeking to maintain future generations of Holocaust scholars, the Center encourages the exploration of new topics, supports the intellectual development of new generations, disseminates the results of new research and educational approaches in national and international forums, and promotes the development of strategic partnerships. Their work to make new scholarly resources available such as the archives of the former Soviet Union and the International Tracing Service archive from Bad Arolsen has profoundly affected the type of scholarship in which American scholars are engaging.
As well, University of Southern California’s Shoah Foundation connects its Visual History Archive to two dozen other American universities with research resources and tools for scholarship and teaching. The growth of testimony collection projects – which started very soon after the Holocaust, but gained increased currency over the past 3 decades – have profoundly affected Holocaust education, commemoration, scholarship, and teaching in the U.S. In particular, the collections created and made accessible by the Yale Fortunoff Archive, the USHMM, the Museum of Jewish Heritage, the USC Shoah Foundation, and many others across the country, have been used broadly by scholars across the disciplines to explore aspects of the genocide that had no other documentation, to understand the lived experience of the survivors targeted for murder, and to offer a history that emerges from the voices of the genocide’s intended victims rather than its designers.
The U.S. delegation's engagement in IHRA issues is supported by effective, long-standing participation from the following Holocaust-related institutions: