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First Holocaust exhibition in the Middle East

(CNN) — A Holocaust memorial exhibition billed as the first of its kind has opened in the Middle East. “It reminds us that the unprecedented character of the Holocaust will always hold universal meaning.” Kathrin Meyer, secretary-general of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, told CNN.

“As we witness the generation of Holocaust survivors sadly pass, memorials and museums become all the more important in ensuring that this horrific event is never forgotten.”

The “We Remember” exhibition at the Crossroads of Civilizations Museum in Dubai showcases first-hand testimonies of Holocaust survivors and opened to the public last month.

Rabbi Elie Abadie, senior rabbi at the Jewish Council of the Emirates, says this new permanent exhibition is hugely significant as nothing similar has ever been staged in the region.

“Although most people in the Middle East know the Holocaust took place, they do not speak or learn about it as much. Now, the region is opening up, and this exhibition gives tribute to what has happened and demonstrates the public recognition of history.”

He says the Holocaust also took place at a smaller scale in Middle Eastern countries in the 1940s, where Arab Jews in Libya, Tunisia, and Iraq were persecuted because of Nazi-inspired teachings. He says Hitler’s ideologies reached beyond Europe and that it was important for those who lived or traveled to this region to be aware of that.

‘Journey through history.’

The museum showcases art produced by different civilizations and cultures over several centuries. It’s only fitting, then, that it should host this new display, the curators say.

The mission is to educate and raise awareness about the Holocaust among Dubai’s over 200 different nationalities. The one-room exhibition, which sits alongside the museum’s six other galleries, takes you through the events leading up to, during, and after the Holocaust, through the eyes of people who lived it.

The Nazis killed more than six million Jews during the Holocaust, along with millions of others, including disabled and LGBT people, political dissidents, and religious and ethnic minorities.

Ahmed Obaid Almansoori, an Emirati who founded the private museum, says the timing to open a Holocaust exhibition in the region felt right.

“The Holocaust was a crime against humanity. And when you have an event like that, you must separate it from other events. A museum is not a political place, it’s a journey through history.”

Yael Gravy, one of the exhibition’s curators, says she was thrilled to be able to educate people from all over the world about these events.

“This is like a dictionary of the Holocaust. You learn things you wanted to know about the Holocaust, but you never dared to ask, such as ‘What is a death camp?’ ‘Did the Nazis plan to murder Jews from the beginning of the regime?,’ and ‘What does Final Solution mean?'”

In a speech at the official opening of the exhibition last week, Peter Fischer, Germany’s Ambassador to the UAE, said the Holocaust is “an eternal mark of shame on my country,” and that is why he is so pleased to see the exhibition.

“I congratulate the UAE for its policy of tolerance. The way of intolerance is not the right way. It will lead to great suffering, even to catastrophe. Take it from a German.”

Gemma Broadhurst
Gemma Broadhurst is a 23-year-old computing student who enjoys extreme ironing, hockey and duck herding. She is kind and entertaining, but can also be very standoffish and a bit evil.She is an Australian Christian. She is currently at college. studying computing. She is allergic to milk. She has a severe phobia of chickens

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