Mr. Emil Fish and Dr. Shay Pilnik, director of the Emil A. and Jenny Fish Center for Holocaust and Genocide Studies at Yeshiva University, partnered with the Crossroads of Civilization Museum in Dubai (the capital city of the Emirate of Dubai) on a special event commemorating International Holocaust Remembrance day on Jan. 27, 2022, watched by 100 guests in attendance and livestreamed to hundreds more from all over the world.
The program included a testimonial film of Holocaust survivor Emil Fish, created by Names Not Numbers©, and a panel discussion about Holocaust education in the 21st century, moderated by Dr. Pilnik. The panelists included Emil Fish; Ahmed Obaid Al Mansoori, founder of the museum; and Yael Grafy, chief operating officer and curator of the Holocaust exhibition in the museum.
“We promised never again,” said Fish, “but that means we must never forget. That can only happen by commemoration and education.” Dr. Pilnik questioned the guests about the pathway leading up to this historic museum exhibition and commemoration. al Mansoori explained that “in the Muslim world, we have a cultural difference about commemoration, but that does not mean that we should not take the initiative to spearhead change and to learn about one another. All our nations are linked like brothers, and we must have compassion for each other.”
Having a Holocaust exhibition in the museum, the first in an Arab land, said Grafy, provides a chance to educate the more than 200 nationalities that pass through its doors about a unique historical tragedy. She had two dreams when planning the exhibition: to have a survivor like Emil Fish share his testimony inside the museum in Dubai and to bring school groups through to teach young people about the Holocaust. Both her dreams have been fulfilled.
Other dignitaries offering remarks were the ambassadors to the UAE from Germany, Italy and Canada. Six memorial candles were lit to represent the victims of the Shoah. The panel discussion was temporarily interrupted as all fell silent during the Muslim call to prayer, a particularly poignant moment in an emotional day. Additional organizers of the event included Filomena Durante of the museum and Lois Roman of the Fish Center.
A replay of the broadcast is available on the Fish Center website.