Switzerland take over chairmanship of the IHRA in March 2017 with Ambassador Benno Bättig as chair for one year. The IHRA aims to promote historical research and education about the Holocaust and to preserve the memory of victims through commemorations and memorials, especially in its 31 member countries.
In 2017, Switzerland will organise two IHRA plenary meetings, the first in Geneva (26–29 June) and the second in Bern (27–30 November). On 26 November, the University of Teacher Education Bern will host a conference about how people with disabilities were massacred by the Nazi regime. At the beginning of 2018, Holocaust study topics will be included at the University of Teacher Education Lausanne as part of the international study days on education.
The FDFA is also supporting a number of projects during Switzerland’s chairmanship. One of these is a multimedia application called ‘Fleeing the Holocaust’, which uses a number of tools to document the fates of four individuals. It is mainly aimed at young people and will be launched soon. The FDFA is also supporting the publication of a collection of Holocaust survivors’ testimonials and two mobile exhibitions – ‘The last Swiss Holocaust survivors’ photography exhibition and ‘The children of Bergen-Belsen concentration camp’, comprising educational materials on the subject. The German booklet ‘Memoiren von Holocaust-Überlebenden’ (Testimonials of Holocaust survivors) will also be published in French.