Jan 22, 2022

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Shalom Pollack is on a crusade and he seems to be gaining ground. As a tour guide, Pollack is intimately familiar with Yad Vashem having led groups to the site for many years. He was, therefore, surprised that when the new museum complex opened in 2005, a significant exhibit had been removed; the iconic photo showing the meeting between Adolf Hitler and Haj al Amin Hussein, the Mufti of Jerusalem and the founder of Palestinian nationalism.

Pollack has been making ever increasing inquiries that have been rebuffed. Last week, at the behest of a third party, Dani Dayan, who was appointed chairman of YadVaShem in August, agreed to meet with Pollack, who was accompanied by a member of the board of  deputies of Yad Vashem.

“Dayan gave me a confusing explanation for agreeing to this meeting today and not in the past,” Pollack told Israel365 News. “He said that he doesn’t capitulate to aggressive and threatening letter campaigns and so he had ignored my previous requests.”

Pollack asserted that he had no success after going through normal channels and had reluctantly resorted to a letter campaign to request a meeting. Two weeks ago, Dayan agreed to the meeting after being approached after speaking at a synagogue in  Westhampton, NY, a very affluent and influential community.

“My brother, a member of the synagogue, approached Dayan and explained my concerns,” Pollack said. “Only then did he agree to meet with me.”

Pollack described the meeting in his own terms.

“Mr. Dayan adopted a very aggressive tone from the beginning,” Pollack said. “He said that no one will preach to him about Zionism. He recalled his rich service record and reputation. He suggested that no such photo had ever been displayed at Yad Vashem.”

Dayan then listed several reasons why such a photo was unsuited for display at the Holocaust museum. He first stated that Yad Vashem is a museum dedicated to the Holocaust and not about the Israel-Palestine conflict. Since the said photo had implications concerning the current conflict, it had no place in the museum. Dayan went on to claim that the role of Husseini in the Holocaust was minuscule compared to others and did not warrant the space at all.

It should be noted that Yad Vashem does have a short treatise on their website describing the role Husseini played in the Holocaust. Another article on the site titled “Setting the record straight” refutes comments made by then-Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in 2015 when he said that Hitler was inspired to carry out the Final Solution as a result of discussions with Husseini. The article accurately challenges Netanyahu’s statements while acknowledging a certain level of complicity between Husseini and Hitler. 

Dayan countered Pollack’s claims, saying that he was motivated by a political agenda and not an interest in an accurate presentation of the history of the Holocaust. He added that the museum chose to focus on the victims and not the perpetrators.

Pollack noted that the museum features a large display of the architects of the Wannsee Conference that drew up the plans for the Holocaust.

“My motivation is actually two-fold,” Pollack admitted. “A discussion about Husseini and Palestinian nationalism is essential when talking about the Holocaust, and vice versa. The roots of the  Israel – Palestine conflict lie in the leadership and ideology of Husseini which he later employed  as the foremost Arab Nazi to kill Jews in  the Holocaust.  That is a unique historical fact that is worth sharing with visitors as part of a presentation about the Holocaust.”

Pollack explained that Yasar Arafat referred to Husseini as “the father of the Palestinian people”. This accolade had been repeated by PA authority President Mahmoud Abbas, who titled his Holocaust-revisionist university thesis “The Secret Relationship Between Nazism and Zionism”.

In addition to the close relationship between Hitler and Husseini, Pollack believes is essential that visitors to Yad Vashem know that there were practical plans drawn up for cooperation to murder all the Jews of Palestine as soon as Rommel defeated the British in Egypt.

This connection and its dire implications were noted on the anniversary of Kristallnacht in a J-Post article by Mark Regev, His claim that Husseini’s undeniable alliance with the Nazis was based in and would lead to the annihilation of the Jews in Palestine was met with denials and consternation in the Palestinian media. But the historicity and its implications are undeniable, despite the absence of the notorious photo from Yad Vashem’s exhibit. . 

“This is not an insignificant historical footnote worthy of ignoring,” Pollack asserted in the interview with Israel365 News.”Certainly not for the Jewish people.”

Dayan concluded the meeting by asserting that the photo would not be displayed “as long as he is in charge.’ He then requested that Pollack leave.

“I assured him that this issue was important to me and others who will continue to work to have this important aspect of the Holocaust on display,” Pollack said. “He took that as a threat though it was not intended as such. It is simply that people care deeply to have the full truth of the Holocaust and the people responsible put on display as a lesson for generations so that it will never happen again in any manifestation.”

The importance of the exhibit is underscored as Yad Vashem is on the itinerary for visiting diplomats. 

“I am convinced the motivation behind the removal is political,” Pollack said. “Husseini’s connection to the Holocaust is problematic for the two-state agenda that claims to be working towards ‘peace’ with the Palestinians. So any government that wants to conduct negotiations with the Palestinians would want to whitewash this aspect of the Holocaust. Any meaningful relationship has to be built on truth.”

Pollack is not discouraged,

“I am weighing my next steps, with God’s help in the struggle for truth and honor for the Jewish people,” Pollack assured Israel365 News. “We deserve better.”

Shalom Pollack is a veteran tour guide and the author of “Jews, Israelis, and Arabs“.