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The Boston Globe

World

Auschwitz memorial rededicated

OSWIECIM, Poland — For decades, the Communist-era memorial to Jewish victims at the barracks known as Block 27 in the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camps was dilapidated and mostly ignored.

‘‘No one visited. They opened the doors, that was it,’’ said Avner Shalev, chairman of Yad Vashem, Israel’s vast Holocaust memorial museum.

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Artifacts had gone missing. The history presented in the signage was inaccurate, dominated by Soviet propaganda.

In 2005, then-Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon tasked Yad Vashem with redesigning the memorial. On Thursday, Benjamin Netanyahu, the current prime minister, joined Polish dignitaries and a handful of Holocaust survivors to dedicate a permanent exhibition in Block 27 called ‘‘Shoah.’’

Israel, Netanyahu said, cannot rely on any other country to protect it or to protect the world’s Jews. He said the murderous anti-Semitism of the Nazi era has been replaced by religious fanaticism, and he specifically cited Iran.

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