For the first time, a Holocaust memorial event is being held in Egypt, although it seems confined to a small audience of diplomats and officials. This is a most welcome development, unprecedented in a country where public opinion during WWII could be defined as pro-German. (With thanks: Baruch Helman)
Egyptian officials, American scholars and foreign diplomats gathered on Monday at a luxury hotel on the banks of the Nile to commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day, the first time such an event has ever been held in Egypt.
The gathering was hosted by the U.S. Embassy in Egypt and the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum (USHMM) in Washington, D.C. A similar event will take place later this week in Abu Dhabi, where Noura al Kaabi, the United Arab Emirates’ culture minister, is slated to speak. (International Holocaust Remembrance Day is commemorated on Jan. 27, the day the Auschwitz concentration camp was liberated.) Plans for additional events in Riyadh and Dubai were scrapped because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It was symbolically, I think, very important that we were able to do this in Egypt,” Robert Satloff, executive director of The Washington Institute for Near East Policy and a speaker at the event, told Jewish Insider from Cairo. “I was just delighted with what happened today and the fact that this occurred in the largest, most populous, trendsetting Arab state.”