12 March 2021

7:30 BST (Dhaka), 14:30 CET (Warsaw)

Please join us for a panel discussion on Holocaust/genocide distortion and hate speech organised within the first Global Virtual Conference on Commemorating Past Genocides and Learning to Prevent Atrocity Crimes on the 12th March. The conference is a global 24-hour event with over 30 sessions in different time zones. The conference is being organised by the Liberation War Museum in Bangladesh, and it is dedicated to the 50th anniversary of the commemoration of the Bangladesh genocide.

Holocaust/genocide denial or distortion is a form of hate speech which is preceded by the dehumanisation of victims and is used to justify discrimination and acts of violence against minorities. While denial rejects the established facts, distortion minimises, instrumentalises or banalises the suffering of the victims and survivors of the atrocities. In Central and Eastern Europe the denial of the Holocaust is a rare phenomenon, but there are numerous examples of its distortion.

The debate about the role of the local population (neighbours) in the Holocaust across Europe, the relations between Jews and their Christian neighbours, antisemitism, and post-war violence against Jews in Poland and elsewhere has been accompanied by the attempts at minimalisation and guilt transfer. What are the challenges for Holocaust commemoration in Europe and worldwide? What can be the ethical dimension of dealing with the past of one's own society and countering distortion and denial? How can we present the universal significance of the Holocaust as a point of reference in debates on human rights in other parts of the world? To what extent the experience of past atrocities can be applied to the understanding of contemporary instances of violence, genocide, and suffering of victims? The session focuses on examples from Europe, North America, and South/Southeast Asia.

Please follow the conference and the session on Holocaust/genocide distortion and hate speech co-organised by the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association via https://whova.com/portal/webapp/gccnf_202103/ (Invitation Code: lwmbangladesh50).


Prof. Jan Tomasz Gross, Polish-American historian, Professor of History and Norman B. Tomlinson ’16 and ’48 Professor of War and Society Emeritus, Princeton University. Lecturer at New York University, Emory, Yale, and universities in Paris, Vienna, and Krakow, the author of ‘Neighbours. The Destruction of Jewish Community in Jedwabne’ (2001), ‘Fear. Antisemitism in Poland After Auschwitz’ (2006), ‘Golden Harvest: Events at the Periphery of the Holocaust’ (in cooperation with Irena Grudzinska-Gross) (2011), among others. His books have been published in multiple languages including English, Polish, Romanian, Swedish, Hungarian, Russian, and Italian. His most recent books such as ‘Neighbours’ have played a breakthrough role in the consciousness of Eastern European societies. He has drawn attention to the role of the local population (the neighbours) in the Holocaust across Europe. He has inspired local Polish and European historians to study the complexity of the Holocaust and initiated a crucial debate concerning the relations between Jews and their Christian neighbours, antisemitism, and post-war violence against Jews in Poland and beyond.
Prof. Gross is recipient of numerous grants and awards. He was honored with the Order of Merit of the Republic of Poland in 1996, granted to foreigners for their exceptional role in fostering cooperation between Poland and other nations, and has received Senior Fulbright Research, John Simon Guggenheim Memorial, and Rockefeller Humanities fellowships among others.

Mark Weitzman is director of Government Affairs for the Simon Wiesenthal Center and chair of the Museums and Memorials Working Group of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). He is the lead author of IHRA’s Working Definition of Holocaust Denial and Distortion. Mr. Weitzman is a participant in the program on Religion and Foreign Policy of the Council on Foreign Relations, served as a member of the advisory panel of Experts on Freedom of Religion or Belief of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), and co-chaired the Working Group on International Affairs of the Global Forum on Antisemitism. He currently serves as the Vice President of the Association of Holocaust organizations. He served as a member of the Advisory Expert Group of the joint OSCE/UNESCO publication Addressing Antisemitism through Education: Guidelines for Policymakers (2018). His works have been translated into many languages including Arabic, French, German, Japanese, Russian and Spanish. Mr. Weitzman has testified in the U.S. Congress, met with world leaders including UN Secretary-Generals Kofi Annan, Ban Ki-moon and Antonio Guterres and been a featured speaker at three UN conferences on antisemitism and extremism. He has lectured and presented at international political and scholarly conferences throughout North America, Europe and Israel, as well as in South America, Africa and Australia and is a frequent media commentator on issues related to antisemitism, extremism and tolerance.

Prof. Rafal Pankowski is an Associate Professor at the Institute of Sociology of Collegium Civitas in Warsaw. He studied in Poland and the UK. He has published widely on racism, nationalism, populism, xenophobia and other issues including several books on the subject. Since 1996, he is a co-founder of the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association. In 2018-2019 he was a visiting professor at the Centre for European Studies of Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand and Buddhist Studies College, Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University, Ayutthaya, Thailand. In 2017, he was awarded the Polish Ombudsman honorary badge. He also received the Polcul award for 'pedagogical, journalistic and cultural activities for racial, ethnic and religious tolerance, as well as for building civil society and democracy in Poland'. He is also a member of the International Association of Genocide Scholars.


Natalia Sineaeva is a sociologist and Holocaust and genocide scholar. Her forthcoming Ph.D. dissertation deals with Holocaust distortion and identity in Eastern Europe. She is a member of the International Association of Genocide Scholars (IAGS). Her recent experience includes work at the POLIN Museum of the History of the Polish Jews in Warsaw as well as cooperation with the Toul Sleng Genocide Museum in Phnom Penh, Cambodia and other museums and sites of memory in Europe and Asia. In 2018, she acted as a Rotary Peace Fellow at Chulalongkorn University in Bangkok, Thailand, and an European Holocaust Remembrance Infrastructure Fellow at the Elie Wiesel National Institute for the Study of the Holocaust in Bucharest, Romania. She has written widely for academic and non-academic journals including ‘The Holocaust. Studies and Materials’ of the Polish Center for Holocaust Research.