Resolution 1495 (2006)1
Combating the resurgence of Nazi
1. In May 1945, the Allied Powers defeated the Nazi German
regime and put an end to Hitlers National-Socialism, the most cruel and
barbaric regime that Europe had ever known.
2. More than just a defeat of the Nazi armies, the victory
of the Allies was a triumph over the Nazi xenophobic doctrine of natural
inequality of races according to which persons of German blood made up a
master race with a special, heroic destiny and were accordingly entitled,
in the quest for living space, to subjugate, dominate or exterminate other
races and peoples.
3. The Parliamentary Assembly pays special tribute to the
glory of all those who fought in the ranks of the anti-Hitler coalition
and saved humanity from the Nazi new order. Grateful Europeans will never
forget their courage and sacrifices which delivered Europe from the Nazi
rule. It opened the path to developing a community of free, sovereign and
peaceful nations in western Europe after the Second World War. Many parts of
Europe had to suffer further oppression under communist rule. The changes in
eastern Europe opened up the chance for them to join the community of states
based on democracy and the rule of law.
4. The Assembly mourns the loss of millions of innocent
victims of the Nazi aggression and racial policies. The horrors of the Shoah
and the Nazi plans and policies of physical extermination or enslavement of
entire nations must never be forgotten.
5. The Assembly regrets the death and suffering of
millions of humans, civilian and military, in Nazi Germany and in its
satellite countries, hostages of criminal acts and policies of their
6. The criminal nature of the Nazi policies and actions
was overwhelmingly substantiated and irrevocably condemned by the Nuremberg
International Military Tribunal in 1945-46. Key figures of the Nazi Party
and state apparatus were found guilty of massive crimes against peace, war
crimes and crimes against humanity. The main components of the Nazi
machinery of mass murder, such as the leadership organs of the Nazi Party,
of the Gestapo, the SD (secret service) and the SS, were declared criminal
7. The rulings of the Nuremberg Tribunal remain of great
historical importance. The principles recognised at the Tribunal form a
cornerstone of modern international law, and led to the drafting of major
international legal instruments such as the United Nations Convention on the
Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (1948), the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights (1948), the UN Convention on the
Non-Applicability of Statutory Limitations to War Crimes and Crimes against
Humanity (1968), the Geneva Conventions on the laws and customs of war
(1949) and their Additional Protocols (1977) and the European Convention on
Human Rights (1949) (ETS No. 5), as well as to the creation of institutions
for the effective implementation and adjudication of these rights, such as
the United Nations Commission on Human Rights, the European Court of Human
Rights, the special criminal tribunals and the International Criminal Court.
8. Modern Europe has been conceived on the basis of a
total rejection of the Nazi ideas and principles, to ensure that such
horrendous crimes as those committed by the Nazi regime in the name of
racial superiority will never be repeated. The Council of Europe, as the
oldest European political organisation aimed at protecting and furthering
democracy, human rights and the rule of law, has a special responsibility in
preventing the resurgence of the Nazi ideology.
9. Against this background, the Assembly is extremely
worried about some developments which indicate that the public awareness of
the danger of the Nazi ideology and its rejection by society are weakening.
10. The Assembly is particularly concerned as regards:
10.1. cases of desecration of memorials and graves of
soldiers of the anti-Hitler coalition;
10.2. attempts to rehabilitate, justify and even glorify
those who participated in the war on the Nazi side, especially in the
ranks of groupings found to be criminal organisations at the Nuremberg
10.3 the increasingly common use of Nazi symbols such as
the fascist swastika, flags, uniforms, and others which clearly relate to
10.4. denying or minimising the significance of the
crimes committed by the Nazi regime, in particular of the Shoah.
11. Furthermore, the Assembly is worried about political
and social phenomena which, while making no direct reference to Naziism,
should be seen in the light of its ideology, such as:
11.1. the growing number of manifestations of racial,
ethnic and religious intolerance in daily life, including, inter alia,
the desecration of Jewish cemeteries and attacks on religious sites;
11.2. attempts to create, through the media, a negative
perception of some ethnic or religious groups;
11.3. growing support for political parties and
movements with a xenophobic agenda.
12. Moreover, the Assembly is worried that such
manifestations do not always receive enough attention and response on behalf
of the political leaders and that public opinion seems now more receptive to
racist, xenophobic and extremist ideas.
13. In this connection, the Assembly deems it necessary to
recall that Hitlers ideas, outrageous as they look today, found sympathy
and support in many European countries.
14. The Assembly believes that it is urgent to step up
co-ordinated action in order to resist efforts aiming at revitalising Nazi
ideology, to fight xenophobia, intolerance and hatred based on racial and
ethnic grounds, political and religious extremism, and all forms of
totalitarian action. The Council of Europe must play a leading role in this
15. In this context, the Assembly welcomes the relevant
activities already conducted by various Council of Europe bodies, in
particular by the European Commission against Racism and
Intolerance (ECRI), but believes that, in order to bring about
concrete results, these activities need to be re-oriented to include a wider
involvement of society.
16. The Assembly resolves to organise an international
conference in order to carefully study the recurrence of racist and
nationalist phenomena in European societies, exchange best experiences and
develop common approaches in combating the resurgence of Nazi ideas.
Assembly debate on 12 April 2006 (13th Sitting) (see Doc.10766,
report of the Political Affairs Committee, rapporteur: Mr Margelov).
Text adopted by the Assembly on 12 April 2006 (13th