Today, January 27th is International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
It is a day we remember the victims of the Holocaust and Nazi persecution.
It is a day designated by the United Nations General Assembly and commemorates the anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration and extermination camp.
The Secretary General of the Council of Europe noted in 2020, that it is a day when we renew our commitment to do “our duty to ensure that such things can happen never again: that we do everything possible to prevent and to counter the hatred and prejudice that breeds violence and discrimination”.
There are those who seek to falsify history and deny or distort understanding of what occurred.
The spread of Holocaust misinformation, particularly online, is a threat not only to memory, but to the commitment against the spread of hatred and prejudice.
It is often inspired by a desire to glorify and repeat that dark past.
The Online Hate Prevention Institute (OHPI) is proud to be represented in Australia’s delegation to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) and to contribute to that inter-government organisation’s work in remembrance, education, and research.
A key priority of IHRA in to #ProtectTheFacts about the Holocaust.
This year, on the 20th of January 2022, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution which rejects and condemns without any reservation any denial and distortion of the Holocaust as a historical event.
A spokesperson for the UN Secretary General issued a statement saying, “we can never let down our guard in the face of increasing attempts to deny, distort or minimize the Holocaust.
We must also adapt and respond to new forms of antisemitism fueled by ignorance or conspiracy theories, also circulating online.
Today’s resolution, adopted by consensus, makes it clear that all Member States must condemn and actively combat Holocaust denial.”
In a recent briefing we discussed the UN resolution and the way it highlights the danger of misinformation and disinformation, particularly online, and how this can lead to hate and violence.
Online Hate Prevention Institute
The Online Hate Prevention Institute’s s CEO has been leading the fight against the spread of Holocaust denial and distortion on social media since 2008, including a 2011 call to Facebook to ban Holocaust denial (see Appendix B).
The Online Hate Prevention Institute took on this work when we were established in 2012.
Our very first report in 2012 started with an investigation into a video by a Holocaust denier which was banned repeatedly from YouTube.
We have now been working on the problem of Holocaust denial and distortion online for over a decade.
After exposing the scale of Holocaust denial on YouTube in 2015, and work over the years on individual videos like “The Holocaust Fraud Exposed” (2015), we were pleased when YouTube notified us they were banning Holocaust denial in 2019.
On Facebook we worked to remove pages like “The Untold History” (2013), “Proud to be a Holocaust denier” (2014), and many more.
We were grateful when Facebook notified us of their change of policy to ban Holocaust denial in 2020. We hope other platforms will also adopt explicit policies to ban Holocaust denial, some like TikTok have already done so.
Holocaust denial, distortion, and misinfomation continues to spread online. Gab, for example, has a large number of explicit neo-Nazi individuals and groups that glorify Nazism.
Despite changes in policy, Holocaust denial and distortion also continue to exists on mainstream social media platforms.
Changes in policy do, however, make it easier to get the content removed.
Today we are releasing a collection of 17 items of Holocaust denial content that, as of this week, was still Facebook.
The content is documented below and we are working with Meta (Facebook) to secure its removal.
You can support this work tracking and removing Holocaust denial material like that below by making a donation to the Online Hate Prevention Institute’s campaign on Antisemitism and Holocaust denial below.
Monthly donations and donations for other areas of our work can be made via our donations page.
The documented examples of Holocaust denial can be seen below.