On January 26, 2012, the eve of International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Turkish State Television TRT began airing the epic nine-hour French film Shoah by Claude Lanzmann in its entirety, subtitled in Turkish. This was the first time the film has been shown on public television in a majority-Muslim country, an endeavor facilitated by the Aladdin Project and supported with Claims Conference funding.
The Claims Conference allocated funds to the Aladdin Project toward translating “Shoah” into Farsi, Arabic and Turkish, and to produce 40,000 DVDs to be shown and distributed in 10 Muslim countries. With Holocaust denial or ignorance common in the Muslim world, the Claims Conference believes it important to advance Shoah awareness to this large swath of the world’s population.
In March 2011, the Los Angeles-based Pars TV satellite channel aired the Farsi version in Iran: while the government reacted with ire, Iranian television viewers welcomed it and the station received close to 3,000 emails and calls in support of the telecast.
"Broadcasting Shoah on public television in a Muslim country is a major step and I welcome the decision of TRT’s executives,” said Claude Lanzmann, in a statement released by the Aladdin Project. “I hope this initiative will lead other countries in the Muslim world to follow the example of Turkey. No part of our international community should exclude itself from the universal lessons of the darkest pages of Europe’s history that maintain their relevance today in a world in turmoil.”
Launched in 2009 under the patronage of UNESCO, the Aladdin Project is an international organization promoting intercultural rapprochement, especially between Jews and Muslims, on the basis of education, knowledge of History and rejection of Holocaust denial.