“I believe a trip like this, for an organized group of Palestinian youth going to visit Auschwitz, is not only rare, but a first. I thought there would be some complaints, then it would be forgotten.” says Al Quds University Professor Mohammed Dajani.
An Al-Quds University professor who took 27 students to see the Nazi death camps two weeks ago in Poland was met with condemnation and calls of being a traitor by his Palestinians peers.
Professor Mohammed Dajani of Al-Quds University took students from his university as well as Birzeit University in Ramallah on a Holocaust education trip in March, as part of a joint Israeli-Palestinian program that seeks to expose each side to other’s suffering with hope of fostering tolerance.
When Dajani returned to the university after the trip he was faced condemnation by his colleagues, who called him a “traitor.”
“I believe a trip like this, for an organized group of Palestinian youth going to visit Auschwitz, is not only rare, but a first. I thought there would be some complaints, then it would be forgotten,” Dajani told the Washington Post.
Al-Quds University released a statement saying the professor and his students do not represent the school. Despite the fact that the visit was funded by the German government, rumors spread that the trip was sponsored by Jewish groups.
According to Dajani, many Palestinians believe the Holocaust is a tool of Israeli and Jewish propaganda, meant to justify their presence on Palestinian land and to garner sympathy for Israel, or that the Holocaust itself has been exaggerated in scope and was just one of the many massacres that took place during World War II.
The trip proved to be an influential experience for the students. “You feel the humanity. You feel the sympathy of so many people killed in this place because of their race or religion,” one Palestinian student said.
“Most people said we shouldn’t go,” the student said. “It is a strange thing for a Palestinian to go to a Nazi death camp. But I would recommend the trip.”
View original Israel Hayom publication at: http://www.israelhayom.com/site/newsletter_article.php?id=16883