America takes over
the chair of the International Commission
On June 16, 2020, at the 83rd meeting of the International Commission for the International Tracing Service (ITS) which oversees the work of the Arolsen Archives, Cherrie Daniels, the representative of the U.S. delegation, assumed the chair, which rotates between the member states on an annual basis. She takes over from Lord Eric Pickles, who has held the chairmanship for the past twelve months. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the annual meeting was held as a video conference for the first time this year.
On June 16, 2020, Cherrie Daniels took over the chair of the International Commission for the International Tracing Service (ITS), which oversees the work of the Arolsen Archives, on behalf of the USA. A career member of the Senior U.S. Foreign Service, she currently serves as Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues in the Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs of the U.S. Department of State. She is also Head of the U.S. Delegation to the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance. Her diplomatic career has included assignments in Israel, Croatia, and Norway, and this has given her deep insights into the terrible scars that the Holocaust left behind in these countries. Cherrie Daniels is committed to ensuring that the history of the Holocaust remains relevant today, especially to young people. “After the survivors’ generation passes, we have to make sure that their lessons — and their memories and stories — don’t die with them. Confronting the dark chapters of the past is the only way forward.”
New troika under starter’s orders
The chairmanship rotates among the representatives of the member states of the International Commission on an annual basis. Special Envoy for Holocaust Issues Cherrie Daniels takes over from Lord Eric Pickles, who has held the chair on behalf of the United Kingdom since June 2019. As Britain’s Special Envoy for Post-Holocaust Issues, Lord Pickles will continue his close and constructive cooperation with the Directorate of the Arolsen Archives for another year. Since 2016, a troika consisting of the previous, the current, and the future chairman has been put in place to support the work of the Arolsen Archives and ensure continuity. The third member is Pierre-Alain Challier, who will take over the chair on behalf of Belgium in 2021 and joined the Troika at the meeting.
Virtual meeting via video call
The 83rd annual meeting of the International Commission was supposed to take place in London. However, for the very first time in the history of the institution, the representatives did not come together to meet in person this year. Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the event was held as a virtual meeting instead.
Floriane Azoulay, Director of the Arolsen Archives, is grateful that all the commission’s representatives were open to this necessary change: “My special thanks go to Lord Eric Pickles, who faced the special challenge of leading our meeting in this new and still somewhat unfamiliar format. Not only has be helped and supported the Arolsen Archives as Chairman over the past twelve months, he has also enabled us to make very real progress.” She was also very pleased with the results of the meeting: “The support we receive from the International Commission is characterized by great mutual respect and provides us with invaluable inspiration from various national perspectives.”
Floriane Azoulay also draws attention to the fact that the special relationship that has always existed with the United States is rooted in the very history of the organization which was founded by the Allies: “Americans have always had a very strong influence on our history. I would like to make special mention of Hugh G. Elbot, our first director, as well as Paul Shapiro, who fought tirelessly to open up the archive and change our focus during his long term as US representative, and finally my predecessor Rebecca Boehling, who made enormous progress in driving us forward on our path of change. I look forward to working with Cherrie Daniels as our new chairperson.”