Letter to Yad Vashem: Do not whitewash history

 


I return to the continuing one-man battle that I have been trying to wage in recent years.

As a tour guide, I have visited Yad Vashem many hundreds of times, both the former and the current version. Many structural and technical innovations have upgraded the visiting experience. However, one very glaring content change has caught my eye now for a while and it leaves me no rest.

I am asking for yet another attempt to draw the attention to the whitewashing of our history.

I will not be silenced by the forces of political correctness, especially in the hallowed ground of our Yad Vashem.

The following is a letter I sent to Mr. Avner Shalev, the current chairman of Yad Vashem. (avnr.shalev@yadveshem.org.il)

If I am joined by other caring people, the powers that be will take note and truth may prevail. I urge you to make your thoughts known to him.

Dear Mr. Shalev,

My name is Shalom Pollack, veteran tour guide.

I have visited Yad Vashem hundreds of times during my almost 40 years of guiding tourists in Israel.

In the “old” Yad Vashem, there was a floor to ceiling photograph of the infamous meeting between Hitler and the Mufti of Jerusalem, Haj Amin El Husseini, leader of the Arabs (Palestinians). Opposite it was an equally large photo of Jewish volunteer soldiers of the Jewish Brigade. It was an excellent study in contrasts and historic roles and was greatly appreciated by my guests.


In the new Yad Vashem, this is gone. In its place is a tiny photo of the Mufti with Himmler. Hitler is gone.

Today far fewer visitors at Yad Vashem even learn of the Arab (Palestinian) role in the Holocaust.

In the past when I raised this question with Yad Vashem, I was told that the new museum “concentrates on the victims rather than the perpetrators, and therefore does not offer much space to them.”

However, there is indeed a full wall of very large photos of German perpetrators just a few steps from the small Himmler - Mufti one.

I assume that it was decided to tone down and hide the Arab (Palestinian) role due to the post Oslo attitude and policies of building bridges with our new peace partners.

There are rumors that our popular peace partner, Faisal Hussaini himself insisted that his uncle’s photo be removed from the museum.

In any case, it is deeply disturbing and a national tragedy that a new generation of visitors, Jew and non-Jew, are not educated to a very basic and significant part of the Holocaust.

I insist, in the name of all those misled and denied the facts, that this is rectified immediately.

Thank you,

Shalom Pollack

 

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