The first holocaust exhibition of its kind in the Arab World, called ‘We Remember’, opened at the Crossroads of Civilizations Museum in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Here, first-hand testimonies of Holocaust survivors are displayed.
Rabbi Levi Durchman in the UAE explains the importance of the exhibition: “There has been tremendous growth in Jewish life in the UAE, Jews have moved here from Israel, the USA, Europe. As the community grows, it is very important to build the foundations of the community. And “What this museum exhibits in memory of the Holocaust is really important. It’s a place we can bring our children. We can bring schools or different communities to see the history of the Jewish people’s life in Europe.”
More than six million Jews were killed by the Nazis between 1941 and 1945. This exhibition aims to remember what happened during the Holocaust and to raise awareness among more than 200 nations living in Dubai.
The exhibition also includes a section dedicated to Arabs and Muslims who helped save Jews.
Yael Grafy, Director of the Crossroads of Civilizations Museum: “We say this is one of the greatest crimes against humanity. And it was really important to us. Tolerance and three other religions… We have galleries about Middle Eastern religions. So we saw it as a piece that should be included in this exhibition.” “We wanted to show our hope. We wanted to show Muslims and other people in the region that they wanted to save them.”
Duchman: “Of course, if you look at the history of the region, Jews and Arabs have always lived very closely together. If you look at Morocco, Tunisia, Libya, Syria, Lebanon, there were many strong Jewish communities. “
Special section for Selahattin Ülkümen
In the center of the gallery is a life-size image of the “Warsaw Ghetto boy”.
The exhibition features the stories of Turkish diplomat Selahattin Ülkümen, who saved Rhodes Jews from deportation, and Mohammed Helmy, an Egyptian doctor who saved several Jews from Nazi persecution in Berlin.
Grafy: “He was studying in Berlin and stayed there during World War II. And he saw what happened to the people around him. The Nazi regime wasn’t just against the Jews. He decided to save some families. And these families were saved from the Holocaust because of him.”
Duchman: “Obviously, it’s quite emotional. You see different paintings and read the different stories displayed here as you tour the exhibition. But it really gives a certain strength. It’s the importance of working with all people, the importance of tolerance, as we build strong roots for our children, for our future generations, It gives us the strength to learn about the importance of living together and the importance of building harmonious communities across the UAE. Across the region and truly around the world. We need to have these values.”
The museum’s founder, Ahmed Obaid Almansoori, thinks the timing of this exhibition makes sense: “There have been many events and trends recently in the world, such as anti-Semitism and rising racism. So I think it’s the right time for us. We have a system in the United Arab Emirates, solidarity We have a culture. And this is where people come from. People don’t come for oil and money. They come here because they feel at home. You know, the best of people come from all over the world and we see the beauty of diversity. So this is a place where people come. What can we learn from our experiences of merging? How can we export it?”
The Crossroads of Civilizations Museum was established to focus on the values of multiculturalism among global communities.
The last exhibition also sheds light on one of the darkest moments in history.
Almansoori: “Some things happen in history and we need to study them. We should take advantage of the positive aspects, also learn from mistakes and try to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
Grafy: “At the end of the exhibition, you can see the phrase that anyone who saves a soul saves the whole world. And I think, wherever you are from, whatever your religion, you can change one person or save one person, then you change the whole world.”