Wide Angle

To an anti-Israel group, Morocco's Holocaust Memorial «was not entirely demolished»

In a video shared online and relayed by several newspapers, anti-normalization activists claimed that the Ait Faska Holocaust Memorial was not «entirely demolished» by the authorities. But to the man behind the project, the installations left in the property are just a replica of a movie’s imaginary monument.

The black tower constructed by PixelHelper in Ait Faska as a replica of a Lord of the Rings' monument. / Ph. DR
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To the Morocco Observatory Against Normalization, North Africa’s first Holocaust Memorial in Ait Faska was not demolished. In a video posted on social media, Wednesday, the president of the non-governmental organization vlogged his trip to the commune near Marrakech, which is home to a set of installations built by German guerilla-artist Oliver Bienkowski.

Ahmed Ouihmane and the secretary general of the association Aziz Hennaoui were akin to investigative journalists on their way to Ait Faska. With their camera, the two activists managed to get around the property of PixelHelper, which had its Holocaust memorial installations demolished in August by the local authorities.

A vlogged trip to Ait Faska's Holocaust Memorial 

While standing on top of a small hill, Ouihmane waved with his hand at the remaining installations, stressing that «not everything was destroyed». «Contrary to what was announced, the memorial was not entirely demolished», he told the camera, while pointing at a black tower.

By the same token, the anti-normalization activist claimed that said tower was a «sign of freemasonry», insisting that it is «related to the holocaust memorial». Ouihmane did not stop there, but accused the German association’s installations of «invading Morocco». «They are planning to invade Morocco as they did with Palestine», he argued.

The vlogged trip to Ait Faska and a statement were both posted on the Morocco Observatory Against Normalization’s Facebook page, creating a wave of confusion. Eventually several news reports followed and the Movement of Unity and Reform (MUR), second largest Islamic movement in Morocco, rushed into quoting the Observatory.

The same thing goes for London-based newspaper Al Quds Al Arabi, which published an article, Wednesday, on the «findings» of Ouihmane and his NGO. Alyaoum24, Noon Press and Howya Press followed in, reporting that the Holocaust Memorial «was not entirely demolished» and quoting the association.

A black tower, a replica of a movie's imaginary monument

But unlike what the Morocco Observatory Against Normalization’s president thinks, all installations related to the «Holocaust Memorial», whose construction was not authorized by the authorities, were destroyed in August.

The matter was confirmed by Oliver Bienkowski, the founder and president of PixelHelper. Speaking, Thursday, with Yabiladi, the activist said that, after his installations were demolished, there was nothing new regarding his project.

He even stressed that his «canned bread bakery», which Ouihmane referred to in his video, was demolished alongside his «rainbow-colored blocks» built to honor Jews who died in concentration camps.

And as surprising as it may sound to the Observatory, the «tower», which Ouihmane describes as a symbol of «Zionism», «has nothing to do with the destroyed Holocaust Memorial». In fact, the black tower that stands on top of a small house within the Ait Faska property is «related to the movie ‘Lord of the Rings’», Bienkowski told Yabiladi.

Referring to epic fantasy adventure films, the German activist said that the monument is just a replica of «Orthanc», a black tower featured in the famous movie. «We built the tower first to help film livestreams for our viewers», he concluded.

It turned out that the tower that irritated Moroccan anti-normalizers is just a tribute to the film series. 

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