France’s commitment to remembrance and transmission of the legacy of the Holocaust
As the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs recalled on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the Vél d’Hiv’ round-up (statement by the Spokesperson, 20 July 2012): “now that many of the direct witnesses of the Holocaust have already died, France sees as its greatest responsibility to perpetuate its memory. Facing up to the darkest pages of hits history, France seeks to share with other nations the Holocaust’s universal lessons on the understanding of totalitarian mechanisms and the prevention of atrocities.”
By recognizing in a speech at the site of the Vél d’Hiv in 1995 the “imprescriptible debt of France” to the victims of the deportation, President Jacques Chirac had already made a political gesture that touched the Jewish communities of the world.
This commitment is part of France’s foreign policy
France considers the duty of remembrance to be an integral part of its foreign policy. It is committed to using its entire diplomatic, scientific and cultural network to encourage human rights education and remembrance of the Holocaust.
Delphine Borione, Ambassador for Human Rights at the Ministry for Europe and Foreign affairs, has responsibility for international issues relating to the Holocaust , victims’ property looted during the Occupation, and remembrance. She works closely with French remembrance institutions such as the French Holocaust Remembrance Foundation and the French Holocaust Memorial.
France is an active member of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA), an intergovernmental organization that was created in 1998 and now includes 33 countries. The IHRA is specifically dedicated to promoting remembrance of the Holocaust and research and education in this field, based on the Stockholm Declaration adopted at the International Forum held in the Swedish capital in January 2000.
The Institut Français, the Ministry for Europe and Foreign Affairs agency for external cultural action, has concluded a partnership with the French Holocaust Memorial for joint activities fostering Holocaust remembrance.
Lastly, France takes part in international conferences aimed at identifying and following up return of property looted from Holocaust victims. It also continues at international level the work carried out by the Commission for the Compensation of Victims of Spoliation Resulting from the Anti-Semitic Legislation in Force during the Occupation (CIVS), created at the initiative of Prime Minister Lionel Jospin on 10 September 1999. It is responsible for examining individual applications submitted by victims or their heirs for reparation for the looting of property during the Occupation, both by occupying forces and the Vichy authorities.
• International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) website
• Commission for the Compensation of Victims of Spoliation Resulting from the Anti-Semitic Legislation in Force during the Occupation (CIVS) website
Updated: November 2019