Speech by Minister for Culture Jeanette Gustafsdotter at Stockholm IHRA plenary

Published

Stockholm, 21 June 2022. Check against delivery.

Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, dear friends,

It is a real pleasure to welcome you to Stockholm. I am particularly glad that we are meeting here, at the Swedish History museum.

Museums in general are indispensable, since they help societies learn and broaden their understanding. But history museums are perhaps the most important of them all, since they help societies deal with the past.

Dealing with the past is crucial in itself, since we can’t allow historical facts to be eroded, or forgotten.

But history also helps us to identify patterns that must not be repeated. This is one of many reasons why it is so important to safeguard the history of the Holocaust and to pass it on to new generations.

We simply must not forget! And this underlines the essential role of the IHRA.

To help Sweden remember, I just inaugurated the Swedish Holocaust Museum. That Museum will help preserve the memory of the Holocaust through the documented experiences of Swedish survivors.

Some of their stories deal with the horrors of concentration camps. Others focus on how they were rescued, and who it was who saved them.

My own father – Gustaf – was one of those who went by boats to the island Ven outside Landskrona, between Danmark and Sweden, to save those who escaped from Denmark when it was occupied.

The message of the Swedish IHRA Presidency is “Together for Impact”, and I believe that it is more important than ever that we join forces, since we have fewer survivors every year and Holocaust distortion is on the rise.

I hope that your discussions on the pledges from the Malmö Forum will help galvanize work and progress. 

I wish you all a positive and productive meeting under the auspices of the Swedish IHRA Presidency.

And now it is my pleasure to give the floor to Ann Bernes, Chair of the IHRA.