“We all have a duty to stand up against antisemitism”

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What does Prime Minister Stefan Löfven hope that the Malmö International Forum on Holocaust Remembrance and Combating Antisemitism will result in, and what has Sweden pledged to do? Interview with Stefan Löfven ahead of the Malmö International Forum, which will take place on 13 October.

  • Prime minister Stefan Löfven inside Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Israel.

    On 22–23 January 2020, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven visited Jerusalem to participate in the World Holocaust Forum to honour the victims of the Holocaust and commemorate the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau. The memorial ceremony took place on 23 January at Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center in Israel.

    Photo: Marie Soläng/The Government Offices

  • Prime minister Stefan Löfven and wife  holding a paper whereupon it is written #We Remember

    The Government observed Holocaust Memorial Day on 27 January 2019. Prime Minister Stefan Löfven and his wife Ulla Löfven – photographed here outside the Great Synagogue of Stockholm – took part in a memorial ceremony organised by the Jewish Community of Stockholm.

    Photo: Nils Petter Nilsson/The Government Offices

  • Prime Minister Stefan Löfven and his wife Ulla standing next to the Wallenberg monument

    On 27 January 2018, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven and his wife Ulla Löfven took part in a memorial ceremony at Raoul Wallenberg Square in connection with the Jewish Community’s commemoration of the victims of the Holocaust.

    Photo: Ninni Andersson/The Government Offices

Prime Minister Stefan Löfven has invited heads of state and government, international organisations and social media platforms to Remember-ReAct, the Malmö International Forum for Holocaust Remembrance and Combating Antisemitism. The Forum will take place on 13 October in Malmo.

Why is this conference important?

“Even though antisemitism should be confined to history, we see that it is spreading in today’s society. Hatred of Jews is found in our history, in extreme right-wing groups, in certain left-wing groups and in Islamist environments. We see conspiracy theories in social media and how the memory of the Holocaust is distorted and exploited for political purposes.

“We all have a duty to stand up against antisemitism. An important part of this is Holocaust remembrance, which is becoming more difficult now that those who survived are growing old and will soon no longer be able share their experiences. By remembering and taking action against antisemitism today, we ensure that something like the Holocaust never happens again.”

During the conference, all countries are to make concrete pledges to strengthen Holocaust remembrance efforts and combat racism. What do you hope this will result in?

“Our moving from words to action. The basis for remembrance efforts and combating antisemitism is already established, in part in the Stockholm Declaration from 2000. What we need now is not fine words and lofty phrases, we must ensure that more concrete action is taken. I hope that the fact that all Remember-ReAct participants are coming to the Forum with concrete pledges will result in our being able to jointly make real progress in this important work.”

What has Sweden pledged and why?

“We have made several pledges in connection with Remember-ReAct to contribute both to the memory of the Holocaust and to preventing antisemitism today and in the future. Sweden pledges to preserve and pass on the memory of the Holocaust; to promote education to prevent antisemitism and other forms of racism and to strengthen Holocaust research; to combat antisemitism, antigypsyism and other forms of racism – online and offline; and to promote Jewish life, strengthen Roma inclusion and enhance security for civil society.

“To accomplish this, we are implementing a range of measures, including establishing a museum to preserve and pass on the memory of the Holocaust, and an education initiative to prevent antisemitism and other forms of racism.”

Sweden’s pledges at the Malmö Forum

Background

The year 2020 marked the 75th anniversary of the end of the Second World War and the liberation of Auschwitz-Birkenau. It was also 20 years since the first Stockholm International Forum on the Holocaust was held. In connection with the Stockholm Forum, the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) and the Living History Forum were established.

Many of those who survived the Holocaust are now quite old and will soon no longer be able to personally to share their experiences. At the same time, antisemitic powers around the world are growing ever stronger. It is in the light of this that Prime Minister Stefan Löfven is hosting Remember-ReAct – an international conference in Malmö on Holocaust remembrance and combating antisemitism.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the conference was postponed for one year and will be held on 13 October 2021.