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.

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 He said the murderous anti-Semitism of the Nazi era has been replaced by religious fanaticism, and he specifically cited Iran.