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Strasbourg, France, 13 July 2018

The Wiesenthal Centre exhibition “People, Book, Land: the 3,500 Year Relationship of the Jewish People with the Holy Land” was opened on Thursday 12 July by Mayor Roland Ries and the Centre’s Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, at the Strasbourg “Médiathèque” - an immense computerized public library for all media.

The Mayor welcomed the Wiesenthal Centre and complimented the exhibition, stressing the security and safety of the important and ancient Strasbourg Jewish community.

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Shimon Samuels with Mayor Roland Ries.

He noted the difficulties encountered by the exhibition at UNESCO when first presented - information he had heard from a regular visitor to Strasbourg and member of the exhibition’s Honorary Committee - the Algerian writer Boualem Sansal.

Mayor Ries praised the new Director-General of UNESCO, Audrey Azoulay, for keeping her promise to depoliticize the organization by creating consensus between Israel and the Arab states, to contain the annual votes attacking Israel.

Samuels thanked the Mayor and noted the efforts of the Centre’s sturdy “Three Musketeers” in Strasbourg:

- Gilbert Nerson (the Centre’s Representative to the Council of Europe)

- Pierre Haas (our co-Representative and CRIF-Alsace President)

- Salomon Levy (Strasbourg Central Synagogue President)

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Salomon Levy, Shimon Samuels, Gilbert Nerson, Alex Uberti and Pierre Haas.

Tracing the exhibition’s background, he acknowledged the importance of it being hosted in a youth-driven municipal facility, visited by thousands each day, fronted by an artificial sand beach for families throughout the summer season.

He compared the “Médiathèque” approach to that of the Wiesenthal Centre’s Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles, a cutting-edge digitized human rights laboratory, and invited the Mayor to visit on his next trip to the United States.

The exhibition will remain open until 26 July.

“We hope to plan a Francophonie itinerary after the summer ‘rentrée’,” concluded Samuels.

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