“Malmö would be an excellent choice,” Christina Gamstorp, director of Stockholm's Jewish Museum, told the local Sydsvenskan newspaper. “It is a superb idea to use Malmö, as the actual place where most concentration camp survivors first arrived.”
In the spring of 1945 the Swedish Red Cross and the Danish government collaborated in the White Buses operation, rescuing 15,345 people from concentration camps in Nazi Germany. It remains unclear exactly how many of those rescued were Jewish.
Malmö mayor Katrin Stjernfeldt Jammeh said that the decision in May to host a major international Holocaust conference in Malmö showed that the national government recognized the city's important role.
“This decision shows that the government is aware of Malmö's history and that it knows that we here in Malmö are working determinedly to counter anti-Semitism,” she told Sydsvenskan.
The new museum is part of Sweden's preparations for next year's celebration of the 75th anniversary of the freeing of hundreds of thousands of Jews from Nazi Germany's concentration camps.
- Breaking down Sweden's anti-Semitism problem
- The Swedish operation that rescued thousands from Nazi concentration camps
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Christina Gamstorp, Director of Stockholm's Jewish Museum stands under a lamp made using text from the Talmud. Photo: Christine Olsson/TT
The government plans to send thousands of Swedish school children to visit memorials around Europe to victims of the Holocaust.
In October, Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven will host a conference, which will be attended by government heads from across the world.
Ann Katina, chair of the Jewish congregation in Malmö, said that she believed Malmö was the most appropriate home for the museum.
“Many of our members are the children and grandchildren of Holocaust survivors,” she said. “Malmö is a natural place for a Holocaust Museum considering that the city today has a big problem with anti-Semitism.”
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Stjernfeldt Jammeh said she had been lobbying Löfven to place the museum in Malmö rather than Stockholm.
“I have personally brought up the question with the Prime Minister,” she said. “I have explained to him that we can do more with a museum like this than would be possible in Stockholm.”