Wales

Muslims' WW2 help for Jews displayed at Cardiff synagogue

Saleem Kidwai and Stanley Soffa Image copyright Crown Copyright Cadw
Image caption The leaders say the story of the exhibition provides a unique bond

An exhibition charting the role Muslims played in saving Jewish lives in the Holocaust goes on show in Cardiff on Sunday.

Stanley Soffa, chair of Jewish Representative Council for South Wales who has brought it to Wales said it was a "heroic story".

It is part of Open Doors 2014, the annual event offering free entry to many attractions throughout September.

The programme is marking 30 years of making heritage more accessible.

The Righteous Muslim Exhibition documents the story of Bosnia Muslims who went to great lengths to preserve Jewish tradition during World War Two by safeguarding the Sarajevo Haggadah, a 600-year-old manuscript which narrates the Exodus from Egypt every Passover.

When a Nazi official came to seize the Haggadah, two men carried it through Nazi checkpoints, to a mountain village above Sarajevo. A Muslim cleric kept it hidden beneath a floor of a mosque until the war was over.

Mr Soffa said: "The exhibition was very well received in London last year, so we are delighted to have the opportunity to share this story with the people of Wales... this weekend.

"For us, it is a heroic story of Muslims saving Jewish lives which provides a unique bond between to communities that we can celebrate together and remember together."

Image copyright AP
Image caption Like elsewhere across Europe, Jews in the then Yugoslavia were targetted by the occupying Nazis

The exhibition aims to inspire new research into instances of collaboration between the Muslim and Jewish communities.

Saleem Kidwai, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Wales, added: "The Holocaust is probably the most documented event in modern history but to this day very few people knew about this factual event during World War Two when two religious events came together to save one another.

"These communities were dispersed in the aftermath of the Second World War, so as the older generation passes there was a danger that these stories would be lost."

The exhibition will be on display at the Cardiff Reform Synagogue from 11:00 to 15:30 BST on Sunday.

The vent is part of the Open Doors programme in Wales - known internationally as European Heritage Days.

The programme is the largest annual free celebration of architecture and heritage held in Wales and the UK and the largest volunteer event in the sector.

John Griffiths, Welsh Culture Minister, said: "Open Doors offers local people and visitors alike the opportunity to explore Wales's fascinating built heritage, whether its through free access to sites or special events that inspire people to visit and connect with their history,

Image copyright Crown Copyright Cadw
Image caption Hafodunas Hall in Conwy county is one of the attractions taking part in Open Doors

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