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Holocaust

Israeli Premier Netanyahu opens Auschwitz exhibition

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has unveiled the Jewish state's new Holocaust display at the site of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp. An important feature is a book featuring the names of those murdered.

File picture dated 19 May 1993 of the electrified perimeter fence, accommodation blocks and a watchtower at Auschwitz. (Photo: EPA/STR +++(c) dpa)

Konzentrationslager Auschwitz in Polen

Netanyahu took part in the opening ceremony on Wednesday of a display intended to add a new perspective to what went on at Auschwitz. The ceremony began with a Jewish prayer, the Kaddish.

The exhibition, funded in part by the Israeli government, features a book that contains the name of some 4.2 million Jews who were murdered during World War II as its major focus.

It also includes modern audiovisuals that are intended to show the killings in the larger context of the Holocaust.

"We do not want to shock visitors; we want to make possible an experience," curator Avner Shalev told the news agency DPA.

Shalev added that the identities of many of those murdered during the Holocaust had still to be established, but that this was a work in progress. "We hope that in two or three years we will have got past the five million mark," he said.

The book was designed by experts of Jerusalem's Yad Vashem Institute for Holocaust Research and will be on show in block 27 of the notorious former camp.

Israeldecided to update the original display, which dated back to the communist area, after a 2005 visit to Auschwitz by former Israeli Premier Ariel Sharon.

Another major focal point of the exhibition is a room devoted to the 1.5 million Jewish children killed in the Holocaust.

Netanyahu had previously visited Auschwitz in 2010, for the 65th anniversary of the camp's liberation by Soviet troops.

Auschwitzwas the biggest of the Nazi death camps, with at least 1.3 million people - mostly Jewish - dying in Auschwitz-Birkenau during World War II. The camp is largely maintained as a memorial by Poland, where it is situated.

rc/slk (dpa, AFP, AP)