Auschwitz Museum Launches Education Programs in Farsi, Arabic

January 20, 2014  

The Auschwitz museum at the site of the former Nazi German death camp in southern Poland said Monday it had launched online Holocaust awareness programs in Arabic and Farsi, AFP reports.

“We want to address groups of people who often have little knowledge of this subject or who even advocate revisionist views,” museum spokesman Pawel Sawicki told the news agency.

He added that the online program was particularly needed as “few people from Arab countries visit” the museum located on the grounds of the World War II-era Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp.

After taking over Poland in 1939, Nazi Germany set up the camp in a former Polish army barracks in Auschwitz in German.

It has become an enduring symbol of the Nazis’ genocide against European Jews. One million were killed there from 1940 to 1945.

More than 100,000 others, including non-Jewish Poles, Roma, Soviet prisoners of war and anti-Nazi partisans also died at the camp.

The Auschwitz museum has offered Holocaust education online in Polish and English since 2010, noted AFP.

In addition to the programs in Arabic and Iranian language Farsi, the museum also launched the same online service in Spanish and Portuguese on Monday.

The Auschwitz museum’s Farsi initiative is the latest in a series of attempts in recent years to reach out to Iranians and educate them about the Holocaust.

In 2012, a 65-year-old man from Orange County, California, announced his decision to write a four-volume book on the Holocaust in Farsi.

He explained that he was attempting to reveal the truths and indisputable facts of the time in a language which has virtually no record of them.

In 2011, the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem launched a YouTube channel explaining the Holocaust in the Farsi language.

Iran’s former president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, regularly denied the Holocaust and even boasted that his proudest moment as president was the Holocaust denial.

By contrast, Ahmadinejad’s successor Hassan Rouhani acknowledged the historical tragedy of the Holocaust shortly after his election, telling CNN the Nazis committed a “reprehensible” crime against the Jewish people.

Iran later claimed that CNN had misrepresented Rouhani’s statements, saying the network added the words “Holocaust” and “reprehensible” to its translation.

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