Yesterday was International Holocaust Memorial Day, a date chosen because it marks the anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz in 1945. In Berlin the day began with a televised special assembly of the German parliament, including prime-minsiter and president, listening to an adress by Marcel Reich-Ranicki, a survivor of the Warshaw ghetto. Turkey became the first ever muslim country to mark this day by broadcasting the nine hour documentary Shoah on state television.
In Teheran, on the other hand, a number of Holocaust denial cartoon films have been made and have been freely available on youtube. They reflect the crudest type of anti-semiticism, images straight out of German Nazi propaganda. This is another stain on the reputation of President Ahmadinejad, a man who not only has the blood of thousands of his own citizens on his hands, but has become the world's most reknowned Holocaust denier, having organised a state sponsored conference for holocaust deniers in 2006. His antics are simply the most absurd form of political shenanigans.
Meanwhile, an intersting and sensitive art exhibition, This Storm is What we call Progress opened this week in London's Imperial War Museum. Part of the exhibtion, entitled Will You Dance For Me? depicts an 85-year-old dancer rocking back and forth in a chair, slowly recounting her experiences as a young woman in Auschwitz. Her punishment for refusing to dance at an SS officer’s party was to stand barefoot in the snow, and she pledged that if she survived she would dedicate her life to dance. The artist, London based Israeli Ori Gersht, speaks about this work, as well as two others, in this short film:
Ori Gersht: This Storm is What We Call Progress from Photoworks on Vimeo.