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Marrakech : Ait Faska’s pro-LGBTQ+ Holocaust memorial demolished by the authorities

The PixelHelper Holocaust memorial in Ait Faska, under construction since September 2018, was demolished, Monday, by the local authorities. They stated that the German NGO did not have the necessary authorizations to build such a facility.

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Marrakech : Ait Faska’s pro-LGBTQ+ Holocaust memorial demolished by the authorities
Marrakech : Ait Faska’s pro-LGBTQ+ Holocaust memorial demolished by the authorities
Marrakech : Ait Faska’s pro-LGBTQ+ Holocaust memorial demolished by the authorities
Marrakech : Ait Faska’s pro-LGBTQ+ Holocaust memorial demolished by the authorities
Marrakech : Ait Faska’s pro-LGBTQ+ Holocaust memorial demolished by the authorities

Ait Faska’s and North Africa's first Holocaust memorial was demolished, Monday, by the local authorities. The project, that has been under construction since September 2018, was initiated and financed by a German non-governmental organization called PixelHelper.

A live streaming posted on the Facebook page of Oliver Bienkowski, founder of PixelHelper, shows local authorities supervising a bulldozer, that destroyed the memorial stone blocks and its rainbow LGBTQ+ monuments.

The demolition of this site comes a few hours after the authorities from the Al Haouz province released a communiqué, stressing that the project «did not receive the necessary authorizations».

Relayed by the Interior Ministry, the press release states that «reports published by some newspapers and posted on social media regarding the building of a project by a foreign citizen, including a museum and many facilities, as well as a memorial and several paintings in the Ait Faska commune are unfounded».

«The authorities in charge of the region have not issued any sort of authorization to set up such a project», the statement explained, adding that «the implementation of similar projects needs particular legal procedures and requires specific authorizations».

A pro-LGBTQ+ Holocaust memorial under construction since 2018

On Friday, Oliver Bienkowski assured to Yabiladi that his project had «received the necessary authorizations». Contacted again, shortly before the start of the demolition, the activist said he was «in touch with the authorities to solve the problem» and said he thought he could «solve it».

«We do not want them to destroy it and want the authorization we need now, because we've been building this project for a year, but now they're asking for other permits», he argued.

The founder of PixelHelper said that he does not understand the situation and stressed that the local authorities have been visiting the project «throughout the year». They «saw that we were building a lot of art installations and monuments, like the European border copy and the obelisk», he explained.

«Our Caid has changed four days ago and we have not had the chance to talk to the new one, but I think he will help us get what we need», he said confidently. «I think the Ministry of Culture can authorize it for the dead Jews», he said.

Contacted by Yabiladi on Friday, authorities at the Ait Faska commune refused to comment on the project, explaining that they «have nothing» to say about it. Could they have not been aware of the nature of the project, especially as it bore a sign that read «Holocaust Memorial Marrakech» as shown in the picture above ?

According to the many pictures shared on the website of the aforementioned association and the information relayed by its founder, this project has been under construction for several months, without local authorities intervening to demolish it.

Several installations of the memorial, to be inaugurated in December, had already been finalized by PixelHelper, before the authorities decided to raze everything.

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