Holocaust charity welcomes donation by Dubai gym

A Holocaust survivor charity will welcome a donation of Dh3,900 from a Dubai gym that used an image of a Nazi concentration camp in an online advertisement.

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DUBAI // A Holocaust survivor charity has welcomed a donation from a Dubai gym that used an image of a Nazi concentration camp in an online advertisement.
The Circuit Factory in Al Quoz will donate Dh3,900 to the UK-based Holocaust Survivors Friendship Association (HSFA) this week after it used a black and white image of the infamous Auschwitz II-Birkenau camp.
"This sort of marketing is deeply offensive, not only to the survivor community, but also to wider society," said Lilian Black, the chairwoman of the HSFA, yesterday.
Phil Parkinson, the founder of the two-year-old gym, will donate the proceeds of fitness classes that took place over the weekend.
"At least he [Mr Parkinson] has acknowledged his error and wishes to make amends," said Mrs Black. "We think it would be of benefit to Mr Parkinson to take a trip to Auschwitz."
HSFA, which is based in Leeds in the north of England, was set up in 1996 and lists educating schoolchildren about the Holocaust as one of its primary activities.
"Our speakers go into schools and colleges and we work with the community to share the horrors of the survivors' past so we can learn the lessons and prevent future genocides," said Mrs Black.
The charity is affiliated to the Association of Jewish Refugees and is involved with various projects to educate the public about the Holocaust and its impact on Jewish people.
"We know there is a lack of knowledge and understanding about the impact of the Holocaust in today's society. HSFA gets donations and will use any funds to improve knowledge of the Holocaust and increase awareness of the importance of human rights for all.
"As a survivor community we recognise and work with a diverse range of people with many diverse views and accept that learning can take place regardless of faith and ethnicity," the charity said.
HSFA's website features interviews with Holocaust survivors, with the statement: "Each Holocaust survivor has a unique and individual story."
It details their recollections, including life in the ghettos, the experience of being a slave labourer, surviving concentration camps, life in hiding, and what it was like to arrive in the UK as a refugee.
In an email, Mr Parkinson said: "At the moment I just have the name [of the charity], so I've emailed them - they'll definitely receive donations, so tomorrow I will make the payment of $1,061 (Dh3,900)."
The picture of Auschwitz was one of a number of images used as part of an online campaign last week that were taken down after they attracted criticism.
nhanif@thenational.ae