With the publication of the report of a Special Symposium held at Yad Vashem in May, 2017, entitled, “How to Deal with Holocaust Era Remains” including the important “Vienna Protocol” by Rabbi Joseph Polak with major input from Prof. Michael Grodin of the Center for Law, Ethics, and Human Rights, Dr. Grodin is be the main contact for a new initiative that provides guidance to archaeologists, anthropologists, excavation techs, curators of museums and collections, historians and other interested parties. A key part of the report is the “Vienna Protocol,” by Rabbi Joseph A. Polak, which outlines the steps that should be taken upon the finding of any Jewish or possible Jewish remains, and addresses the use of images from Nazi victims such as those presented in the Pernkopf atlas. The report also includes “Recommendations/Guidelines for the Handling of Future Discoveries of Remains of Human Victims of Nazi Terror,” a collection of recommendations from a special symposium at Yad Vashem in Jerusalem that took place on May 14, 2017. The “Vienna protocol” and the guidelines are also applicable beyond the Jewish context for all human remains from victims of human rights abuses.

This report is edited by William Seidelman, Lilka Elbaum and Sabine Hildebrandt and is shared with permission from the Boston University School of Public Heath.