The intention to found the Institute is anchored in the Terezin Declaration, adopted in the end of the Holocaust Era Assets Conference held in Prague and Terezin in June 2009. Specifically, the states affirming the Declaration mention therein the following:
"...we welcome and are grateful for the Czech Governement´s initiative to establish the European Shoah Legacy Institute in Terezin to follow up on the work of the Prague Conference and the Terezin Declaration. The Institute will serve as a voluntary forum for countries, organizations representing Holocaust (Shoah) survivors and other Nazi victims, and NGOs to note and promote developments in the areas covered by the conference and the Declaration (i.e. social welfare needs of survivors, immovable property, art provenance, Judaica and Holocaust education), and to develop and share best practices and guidelines in these areas...It will operate within the network of other national, European and international institutions,ensuring that duplicative efforts are avoided, for example, duplication of the activities of the Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance and Research (ITF). Following the conference proceedings and the Terezin Declaration, the European Commission and the Czech Presidency have noted the importance of the Institute as one of the instruments in the fight against racism, xenophobia and anti-Semitism in Europe and the rest of the world, and have called for other countries and institutions to support and cooperate with this Institute. To facilitate the dissemination of information, the Institute will publish regular reports on activities related to the Terezin Declaration. The Institute will develop websites to facilitate sharing of information, particularly in the fields of art provenance, immovable property, social welfare needs of survivors, Judaica, and Holocaust education. As a useful service for all users, the Institute will maintain and post lists of websites that Participating States, organizations representing Holocaust (Shoah) survivors and other Nazi victims and NGOs sponsor as well as a website of websites on Holocaust issues."
This underlying conception for the functioning of the Institute is further elaborated and specified in the Incorporation Deed of the Institute and its Articles of Incorporation, which are presented in the following section.