Germany withdraws plan to honor Israeli Holocaust historian for work on Srebrenica genocide

The German government has abandoned plans to award the country’s highest honor to an Israeli Holocaust historian due to criticism of his work on the genocide in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier had planned to present the Order of Merit to Gideon Greif, but the presidential office and the Foreign Office said they would review plans for the award in October.

German news agency dpa reported on December 31 that the Foreign Ministry withdrew his appointment earlier this month.

Greif, who is primarily a Holocaust researcher, chaired an international commission of historians that released a report in July that suggested that the Srebrenica massacre at the end of the 1992-95 Bosnian war was not genocide.

International courts have called the mass murder of more than 8,000 Muslim Bosnians around Srebrenica by Bosnian Serb forces as genocide. Denial of the genocide became a crime in Bosnia in July, in one of the last acts of the former high representative of the international community in Bosnia, Valentin Inzko.

The report was commissioned from Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik, who recently pushed for the secession of the Serbian part of Bosnia, the Republika Srpska.

Dodik has repeatedly questioned the nature of events in Srebrenica and criticized laws criminalizing genocide denial.

News of the German decision was first reported by klix.ba, a Bosnian news site, citing a letter from the German Foreign Ministry dated December 7.

Based on dpa reports

Maria D. Ervin