A Moroccan association says Ait Faska’s Holocaust memorial «exploited locals’ poverty»

After Ait Faska’s Holocaust memorial was demolished, Monday, by the local authorities in Al Haouz, the Moroccan Association for Human Rights issued a communiqué, accusing the NGO behind the project of «exploiting locals’ poverty».

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Ait Faska's Holocaust memorial after it was demolished by the authorities. / Ph. PixelHelper-Facebook

Shortly after the local authorities in Ait Faska, a small village near Marrakech, demolished «North Africa’s first Holocaust memorial», the Moroccan Association for Human Rights (AMDH) issued a statement, addressing the project initiated by a German non-governmental organization.

In a communiqué sent, Tuesday, to Yabiladi, the Moroccan NGO revealed that the project, which includes a museum, a bakery and LGBTQ+ monuments, was presented in the beginning as «a tourist resort».

AMDH states that, according to data its local office compiled, PixelHelper purchased the «land in Ait Faska, built an office there and started the construction works, relying on locals». «The NGO exploited the inhabitants’ poverty, provided them with food and built a football field for kids and a waterwheel», it added.

The Holocaust, LGBTQ+ and the inhabitants of Ait Faska

Quoting eyewitnesses, AMDH stated that the «Holocaust memorial» in Ait Faska occasionally received visitors «who practiced weird rituals». It also added that the owner of the project was initially planning to build the «memorial» in the region of Al Ouidane, another commune in the Al Haouz province, but had to consider Marrakech after he couldn’t receive authorization.

«The inhabitants of the small village do not know what a holocaust memorial is», the head of the Moroccan Association for Human Right’s Marrakech office Awatif Trii told Yabiladi. She added that the NGO, behind the project, was «handed the needed permits from the local authorities» because it said that «it would build a garden and a tourist resort that would benefit the local population».

As relayed by AMDH’s recent communiqué, the activist argued that the «the Holocaust memorial means nothing to Moroccans», stressing that this project is just a «form of normalization with the Zionist entity».

For the record, works at Ait Faska to build the «Holocaust Memorial Marrakech» started in September, 2018, according to the NGO’s founder Oliver Bienkowski, who spoke Friday to Yabiladi about his project in the region.

According to a live streaming the German activist posted, Monday, on his Facebook page, the local authorities in Ait Faska destroyed the memorial stone blocks and its rainbow LGBTQ+ monuments.

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

On Friday, Bienkowski assured to Yabiladi that he was entitled to build the Holocaust memorial and that he had in hand the needed permits, but later on Monday he said that «he did not understand» the situation and that he was told by the authorities that «he should provide further documents».

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.

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.

Article modified on : 2019.08.27 16h52

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