A Holocaust exhibition at the National Library in Tunis met with fierce opposition, with demonstrators tearing down posters and condemning what they called “propaganda” for the “decades-old myth about a genocide of the Jewish people.”
In a video published by Meem Magazine on December 15, shortly after US President Donald Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, activists could be seen slamming the attempt to educate their “little children to get to know the history of the Jews,” according to a translation of the video published Monday by the Middle East Media Research Institute.
The exhibition, which was supported by the Holocaust Museum in Washington, UNESCO, the United Nations and the German Rosa Luxemburg Foundation, was the initiative of Tunisian historian Habib Kazdaghli.
“This is a historical documentary exhibition which exposes and denounces Nazi propaganda,” he said. “The purpose of this exhibition is to make our children love [history]. I’m a historian, but my children don’t like history.”
The video showed dozens of people chanting, “Free, free Palestine. Out with the Zionists.” They then went on to remove posters about the exhibition.
Hamida Bessaad, a researcher at the National Library, explained that the protesters opposed the exhibition because Kazdaghli “Wants our little children to get to know the history of the Jews, and learn about the Holocaust.”
She claimed that the Holocaust was Jewish propaganda, and it was the Palestinians who were truly suffering a Holocaust.
“He is upset that Tunisian children don’t know about the Holocaust of the Jews, but he is not upset that the children of Palestinian have been going through a Holocaust since 1948 and to this day,” she said. “The employees, intellectuals, readers and researchers of the National Library are all opposed to normalization (of relations with Israel) and to propaganda for the Jews.”
Kawthar Chebbi, a civil society activist, called the Holocaust “lies and myths.”
“Our youth are being brainwashed with empty lies and myths,” she said. “This decades-old myth about a genocide of the Jewish people by the Nazi regime… This is a lie to promote the Zionist entity and the “Israeli state.”
Omar Al-Majri, a political activist, said, “The Holocaust was perpetrated by the Zionist movement in collaboration with the Nazis in order to transfer the Jews to Palestine. This is a historical truth that Habib Kazdaghli likes to ignore.”
Tunisia was one of three north African countries that were part of Vichy France, where Nazis imposed anti-Jewish legislation. The Germans occupied Tunisia for six months, from November, 1942 through May, 1943. Thousands of the country’s 10,000 Jews were rounded up and sent to forced labor camps, where 265 of them died. Allied forces captured Tunisia on May 6, 1943, preventing mass deportations of the nations Jews to concentration camps in Europe.