Muslim leaders from around the world have taken part in an unprecedented trip to Germany and Poland to see and hear for themselves about the horrors of the Jewish Holocaust.
The 11 imams, sheiks and religious teachers from nine countries met a Holocaust survivor and Poles whose families risked execution to save Jews from the Nazis, in the Polish capital’s Nozyk Synagogue as part of the tour.
They have been around museums, including the recently opened Museum of the History of Polish Jews on the site of the former Jewish Ghetto in Warsaw. And they also visited the Auschwitz and Dachau concentration camps.
“The main aim is to get Muslims who are leaders all over the world, particularly in the Middle East, to acknowledge the reality of what happened here and to be able to teach it to the people that they lead,” said trip organiser Rabbi Jack Bemporad, who is executive director of the US-based Center for Interreligious Understanding.
He was standing underneath the red brick watchtower over the main entrance to Birkenau, the largest of more than 40 camps that made up the Auschwitz complex. This was where the Nazis installed four gas chambers and crematoria to speed up the murder and disposal of people, who were mostly Jews, from across Europe. Stretched across the entrance is the infamous Nazi slogan “Work sets us Free”
Muslim Leaders entering Auschwitz Muslim Leaders praying at Auschwitz