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Netanyahu opens new ‘Shoah’ exhibit at Auschwitz

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(JTA) — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu opened a new permanent exhibit titled “Shoah” at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum.

The ceremony took place Thursday in what used to be the Nazi extermination camp at the former Prison Block 27, which has been designed as an exhibit showing the death camp in the larger context of genocide in World War II.

“The leaders of the Allies knew about the Holocaust in real time. They understood exactly what was happening in the death camps. They were asked to act, they could have acted, and they did not. To we Jews the lesson is clear. We must not be complacent in the face of threats of annihilation. We must not bury our heads in the sand or allow others to do the work for us,” Netanyahu said at the dedication ceremony.

“From here, the place that attests to the desire to destroy us, I, the Prime Minister of Israel, the state of the Jewish People, say to all the nations of the world: The State of Israel will do whatever is necessary to prevent another holocaust.”

The exhibit was curated, designed and built by Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial, in coordination with the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum. It replaces an old and outdated exhibit, which most visitors to the camp do not visit. In 2005, following a visit by then-Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Yad Vashem was asked by the Israeli government to renew the exhibit. The renovation was funded by the State of Israel with assistance from the Claims Conference.

“The new exhibition SHOAH presents the main elements of the Holocaust, placing the murder at Auschwitz-Birkenau in the larger context of the Nazis’ systematic attempt to exterminate the Jewish people,” said Yad Vashem chairman and exhibition curator Shalev. “The Polish State Museum and its guides believe that this unique concept will complement its other exhibitions by providing an added dimension that was previously absent. By placing the individual at its center, the exhibition presents the main elements of the Holocaust in a unique way.”

On Wednesday, Netanyahu and a delegation of five Israeli ministers travelling with him met with their Polish counterparts in a joint government session.

Responding to a reporter’s question about the threat from Iran, Netanyahu said: “This is a regime that is building nuclear weapons with the expressed purpose to annihilate Israel’s 6 million Jews. We will not allow this to happen. We will never allow another Holocaust.”

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