The International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance is pleased to announce the fourth volume in its publication series: “Refugee Policies from 1933 until Today: Challenges and Responsibilities.”

The fourth volume in the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance publication series presents the outcome of a conference, held in February 2017 organized in cooperation with the Holy See on refugee policy from the 1930s to the present day. The volume provides educators with plenty of information and arguments by demonstrating  why studying the refugee policies of the Holocaust era can help respond to challenges that we face today.

Speakers address the audience.jpg
The IHRA Chair addresses the audience
Credit: Nabis Photographers

Pope Francis has referred to the plight of refugees today as “the greatest humanitarian crisis since the Second World War.” At a time when the current situation of refugees in Europe and the Middle East continues to dominate the news and the political arena, this volume brings together experts in Holocaust history, representatives of the Holy See, and experts dealing with issues of law and human rights to reflect on the past with a view to constructively informing positive, ethically responsible, and rational policymaking today.

H.E. Mgr. Silvano Maria Tomasi, Secretary Delegate of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development, Holy See.jpg
H.E. Mgr. Silvano Maria Tomasi, Secretary Delegate of the Dicastery for Promoting Integral Human Development Holy See
Credit: Nabis Photographers

Academic adviser to IHRA, Steven T. Katz,  in his preface to this publication, writes:

“The organizers of this conference aspired to move beyond talk and to generate concrete proposals that would assist both those in need of refuge and those who are asked to provide this refuge. This is the present imperative, and it is one that will neither decrease nor disappear over the coming decades… [A]according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, 21.5 million individuals who are today classed as refugees, i. e., people who, fearing for their safety, have uprooted themselves and left their homeland. At the same time, according to the same source, the conflicts that cause these departures take, on average, 37 years to come to a resolution, and the average refugee needs 17 years to locate a permanent new home.

So we urgently need rational, mediating, practical solutions that can garner sufficiently broad national and international support. And it may well be that different solutions are necessary for different countries and regions. In some places aid may mean in-migration; in others financial assistance; in still others, limited-time work permits; or, alternatively, solutions might entail providing massive development aid for those countries from which the refugees and economic migrants come. But we can find these substantive answers only if we have an informed exchange of ideas and concerns: an exchange that must center on policy as well as politics, and on regulation and prudent management strategies as much as on the mood of the electorate, though the sensibilities and will of the electorate will ultimately be crucial. Then, too, we need to conduct this conversation without rancor or overheated rhetoric.

Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with the States, Holy See.jpg
Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, Secretary for Relations with the States, Holy See
Credit: Nabis Photographers

The publication ends with pieces titled: “The Importance of Remembering” and “Why the European Union is a Community of Values Under Threat; and Why We Must Not Lose Hope.” Katz reminds us that as we look to the past, we are reminded of what happens when xenophobia, racial hatred and antisemitism go unchecked in society, and when governments succumb to right-wing nationalist political movements. The message here is clear: hate and prejudice undermine the democratic political order and they are abetted by indifference. This was true in the 1930s and 1940s and it is just as true today.

Advisor to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, Professor Steven Katz.jpg
Prof. Steven T. Katz, Advisor to the IHRA and Alvin J. and Shirley Slater Chair in Jewish Studies, Boston University
Credit: Nabis Photographers

Review the entire table of contents and order your print copy of the publication.

Dr. Katz concludes:

“In sum, these many contributions, taken together, provide a deep understanding of where we have been, where we are, and where we need to go. It is now our collective task to make the future better than the past.

What can you do now?

1. Order your print copy of the publication.

2. Download a free copy of the publication online.

3. Tweet your feedback on the publication using our Twitter handle @IHRA_news and the hashtag #seekingprotection 

4. Comment on this post and start a discussion.

Sign up to the IHRA monthly newsletter bulletin on international Holocaust education, research and remembrance initiatives to stay up-to-date with our work and future publications.