We Remember, a memorial exhibition dedicated to the victims of the Holocaust, has opened in Dubai.
On view at the privately owned Crossroads of Civilisations Museum, the show, organisers say, is the first exhibition centred on the Holocaust to be staged in the Gulf.
It opened on Wednesday, with Eitan Na’eh, Israel’s Ambassador to the UAE, and Peter Fischer, Germany’s Ambassador to the UAE, in attendance. There is no closing date confirmed, as organisers hope it will become a permanent exhibition.
“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,” the museum's founder, Ahmed Obeid AlMansoori, said.
The exhibition includes historical sections that showcase rare items such as the facsimile of a Mahzor, a Jewish prayer book, from the city of Worms, Germany. Its significance is linked to the spiritual leaders of the Jewish community in Worms, including Rabbi Shlomo Yitzchaki, a medieval French rabbi who helped write comprehensive commentary on the Talmud and the Hebrew Bible.
The original prayer book was saved from the Kristallnacht, or the Night of Broken Glass, a pogrom against Jews, who were executed by Nazi forces in Germany in November 1938.
Another highlight of the exhibition is a tribute to Muslims who helped save Jewish lives during the Holocaust, including stories of Albanian Jews rescued by Albanian Muslims. Another account details the actions of Mohammed Helmy, an Egyptian doctor living in Berlin during the war. He not only provided a safe haven to Jews in a cabin he owned, but he also tended to their medical needs.
Then there is the story of Selahattin Ulkumen, a Turkish diplomat who was posted in the Greek island of Rhodes during the Second World War. In 1944, the Gestapo attempted to round up the Jewish population of the island to its headquarters in order to transport them to Auschwitz. Ulkumen confronted the German commanding officer, asking for the release of the Jews, particularly those of Turkish citizenship, because Turkey at the time was considered neutral during the war. Though the diplomat was able to secure the safety of the Turkish Jews, the Nazis still captured those who were of different citizenship and sent more than 1,600 of them to concentration camps.
The We Remember exhibition also includes tributes to victims of the Holocaust centred on a life-size image of a young boy in the Warsaw ghetto in Poland. It shows the child wearing a terrified expression as his hands are up in the air.
In addition, there are displays on Anne Frank and Petr Ginz. The former's diary has become one of the most famous testimonies on the Holocaust, while the latter was a Czech boy who created a haunting drawing of the Earth as seen from the Moon.
There are also survivor testimonies that offer a personal look at the impact of the genocide and stories that centre on Jewish communities that were lost during the Holocaust.
Founded in 2012, the Crossroads of Civilisations Museum focuses on the UAE's values of openness and multiculturalism, and its collection honours civilisations across the region.
We Remember is now on view at the Dubai Crossroads of Civilisations Museums. More information is at themuseum.ae