A unique and historic event was held today (Wednesday), at the Crossroads of Civilisations Museum in Dubai, where Holocaust Survivor Eve Kugler (91) told the story of her survival and experience during the Holocaust. The event at the UAE Crossroads of Civilizations Museum, founded by H.E. Ahmed Obaid AlMansoori, was also the inaugural event of the new March of the Living Chapter in the Gulf, together with MOTL Ambassador in the Gulf, Eitan Neishlos.
In addition to the event at the Museum, Eve, who was only 7 years old when the Germans broke into her home on that fateful night, visited a school in Dubai where she told her story to an audience of Jewish and Muslim children.
The events marked the 84th anniversary of “Kristallnacht/November Pogrom”, when hundreds of synagogues were burned across Germany and thousands of Jewish-owned businesses were damaged or destroyed by Nazi vandals. Approximately 100 Jews were murdered and around 30,000 more were rounded up and sent to concentration camps, marking an ominous turning point in history, and a key juncture in the evolution of the mass genocide of the Jews carried by Nazi Germany during WWII.
Along with the keynote address by Eve Kugler, speakers at the event in Dubai included: Paul Goldenberg, senior representative of the Miller Center for Community Protection and Resilience at Rutgers University and former member of the US Government Homeland Security Advisory Council; Commissioner Karl Heeren, Chief External and International Relations for Antwerp Police in Belgium; and Jordana Cutler, Director of Public Policy - Israel & the Jewish Diaspora at Meta.
Holocaust survivor, Eve Kugler said, “I am very honored to be here in Dubai, and to have the opportunity to speak to people in the Emirates, young and old, about the horrors of those dark days, and the lessons that still must be learned today.”
Speaking to the school children, she said, “You are here, older than the age I was during the Holocaust. The Nazi soldiers came into our house, and I watched with my sister as they ransacked our home, and dragged my father and grandfather away in the middle of the night. That night the synagogue my grandfather helped build was burnt to the ground, while the fire brigade stood and watched.”
She stressed, “Each story of the victims and the survivors of the Holocaust is different, but the point is always the same. We cannot allow the flames of hatred to consume our world. We cannot allow the lives of innocent people to be torn to pieces – shattered like glass on Kristallnacht. We must learn the lessons of the past and build a shared future of mutual respect and understanding.”
MOTL Ambassador in the Gulf, Eitan Neishlos said, “We have made history today, in bringing the voices of Holocaust survivors to the United Arab Emirates. Under the umbrella of the Abraham Accords, we are building firm and lasting bridges of understanding and appreciation between our communities. The Holocaust stands as a unique crime against humanity, and an important part of the Jewish story and experience, that holds lessons for all of us about the importance of tolerance – which is a pillar of life here in the UAE.”
He added, “I am especially grateful to HE Ahmed Obaid AlMansoori and the Crossroads of Civilizations Museum for their hospitality. When I took on responsibility to help carry the torch of remembrance for the third generation, I knew that we must also reach out to our brothers and sisters in the Arab and Muslim world. For nearly all those here today, this was the first chance to hear the testimony of Holocaust survivors. Eve’s story is an inspiration to all, and I am grateful to March of the Living for bringing her to Dubai today.”
Founder of the Crossroads of Civilisations Museum in Dubai, H.E. Ahmed Obaid AlMansoori, said: “As a student of history, I acknowledge the Holocaust as the worst crime against the Jewish people. As a Muslim, I cannot stand by and allow the memory of the victims, and the voices of the survivors, to fade into history. I am privileged to host this historic commemoration event at the Crossroads of Civilizations Museum, where we established the first Holocaust Memorial Gallery in the Arab and Islamic world, with the goal of learning history’s lessons to build a better future. I am honored to host a Holocaust survivor, Eve Kugler, who is an essential voice of hope, who will be educating us all about the horrors that she endured as a child during Kristallnacht.”
Further afield, to mark the day, International March of the Living launched its third interfaith campaign of unity to remember Kristallnacht under the title, “Let There Be Light”. The campaign’s aim is to commemorate the past but also to raise awareness about the current atmosphere of intolerance, prejudice and racism that exists in the world today, by participating in a public educational effort that will be joined by people of all faiths and backgrounds.
In Vienna a "March of Light" from the Heldenplatz to the Judenplatz will take place concluding with a commemoration ceremony. In Jerusalem a moving ceremony will take place in which Holocaust Survivors, veteran journalist Walter Bingham, and David Cycowicz, who both witnessed Kristallnacht will be recognised, and messages of hope from around the world will be projected onto the ancient walls of the Old City.