A 91-year-old Holocaust survivor has challenged the president of Iran to join her at a mass grave after he appeared to cast doubt over whether the Nazis had murdered millions of Jews.
President Raisi is already facing growing unrest at home over the death of a 22-year-old woman arrested by his regime’s “morality” police for improperly wearing a headscarf.
Now he is being tackled by Rae Goldfarb after he appeared to cast doubt on the murder of six million Jews.
An American television network asked him last week whether he believed the Holocaust had happened. Raisi said there were “some signs it happened”, but added: “If so, they should allow it to be investigated and researched.”
Goldfarb, who was born to a Polish family in what is now Belarus, invited him to join her at a grave of Jews killed by the Nazis. She told IranWire, a news website: “I would like to take him to my town and have him open up the grave where 3,000 people were shot dead.”
Goldfarb moved to America after the war and volunteers at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington. She narrowly survived the Nazis after being sheltered by villagers. Her younger brother was murdered after being betrayed by local farmers for 10kg of sugar.
“They bartered his life for that,” Goldfarb said. “I remember the women that sent my mother and I running because she knew I would be taken away next. All I can say is anybody who denies the Holocaust should have gone through something like that.”
Raisi’s comments provoked a furious response in Israel. Yair Lapid, the prime minister whose late father survived the Holocaust, posted a series of photographs from the genocide on Twitter with the caption: “Some signs.”
Iran has been engulfed in protests over the death of Mahsa Amini, who was arrested in Tehran for allegedly wearing her Islamic headscarf loosely.