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  • Writer's pictureMiddle East Center for Reporting an Analysis

Memorializing the Holocaust in the UAE

An important event in the UAE took place in May 2021 that illustrates the spotlight the UAE is giving to tolerance, coexistence and memorializing the Holocaust. The United Arab Emirates’ Crossroads of Civilizations Museum developed a Holocaust Memorial exhibit and invited the country’s Jewish community to its opening. Israeli Ambassador to the UAE Eitan Na’eh and Ambassador Peter Fischer of Germany’s addressed the event.

A report on the event follows:

Organizers noted. that as antisemitism rises in countries around the world, this event is important. It is "the first Holocaust exhibit in the Arabian Gulf was designed to raise awareness of the horrors of the Holocaust among local Emiratis as well as Dubai’s residents and tourists. The exhibition explores the chain of events leading up to the Holocaust and uses personal stories – many of which come from Jews in the Arab world. There is a special tribute to Arab heroes who defended and saved Jews."

“The new Holocaust Memorial exhibit in Dubai is unique in the region. It reflects a new discourse that is emerging in the UAE which is rooted in mutual respect and human compassion. The memory of the holocaust is emotional and moving but, in this context, it provides a source of hope and reassurance,” said President of the community Ross Kriel. “Our profound thanks to the Crossroads of Civilizations Museum for its vision and courage in standing up for the idea of our common and shared humanity.”

“We are all concerned about the rise in antisemitism in Europe, the United Kingdom, and the United States. By teaching and informing our visitors about the Holocaust, we will create more awareness about the danger that this negative rhetoric and resulting actions can lead to,” said Crossroads of Civilizations Museum Founder H.E. Ahmed Obeid AlMansoori. “As a leading cultural institution in the UAE, it is very important to us that we focus on educating people about the tragedies of the Holocaust because education is the antidote to ignorance.”

“We are alarmed to see this surge of anti-Semitic attacks in major cities across the United States and Europe. We forget how quickly hate can spiral,” said Chief Rabbi Yehuda Sarna. “My wife’s family was saved from the Holocaust by an Arab doctor, Mohamed Helmy. His example – this exhibit – reminds us that we must rise to the challenge of combating extremism as neighbors, as friends.”

"Peace is built through establishing person-to-person relationships and creating understanding. The Holocaust Memorial exhibit at the Crossroads of Civilizations Museum includes a section dedicated to Arab and Muslim upstanders who defended innocent Jews during the Holocaust. For his work in building tolerance in the region, we acknowledge Museum Founder Ahmed AlMansoori, for being an upstander himself, " said Jean Candiotte, Jewish community leader.

The Crossroads of Civilizations Museum was founded in 2012 with a mission to reflect the culture of the UAE and its values of openness, harmony, mutual respect, and multiculturalism. It has been a key site for many events since the Abraham Accords and before the accords, promoting coexistence.

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