What is Holocaust Distortion?

At its simplest level, Holocaust distortion is rhetoric, written work, or other media that excuse, minimise, or misrepresent the known historical record of the Holocaust.

Why is it dangerous?

Holocaust distortion, like Holocaust denial, damages the memory of the Holocaust and is an insult to its victims and survivors. It is the greatest contemporary threat to the legacy of the Holocaust.

Manifestations of Holocaust distortion

The 2013 IHRA working definition of Holocaust denial and distortion identifies the following examples of how Holocaust distortion is manifested:


Intentional efforts to excuse or minimise the Holocaust or its principal elements, including the roles played by collaborators and allies of Nazi Germany;


Gross minimisation of the number of victims;


Blaming Jews for the Holocaust;


Casting the Holocaust as a positive historical event;


Attempting to blur responsibility for the crimes of the Holocaust;

Since the adoption of the IHRA working definition of Holocaust denial and distortion, further manifestations have become apparent. These include, but are not limited to:


Accusing Jews of “using” the Holocaust for some manner of gain;


Using the term “Holocaust” to equate events or concepts that are not related to the genocide of European and North African Jewry by Nazi Germany and its collaborators;


State-sponsored manipulation of Holocaust history in order to sow political discord within or outside a country’s borders;


Downplaying or honouring the historical legacies of people or organisations that were complicit in the crimes of the Holocaust;


Using imagery and language associated with the Holocaust for political, ideological, or commercial purposes unrelated to Holocaust history in online and offline forums.

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