After protest, Polish museum pulls naked Auschwitz video
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After protest, Polish museum pulls naked Auschwitz video

At request of Israel’s Warsaw embassy, video of naked gas chamber tag game removed from ‘experience of Auschwitz’ exhibit

Rails in the former Nazi death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau in Oswiecim, southern Poland, 2005. (AP/Czarek Sokolowski, File)
Rails in the former Nazi death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau in Oswiecim, southern Poland, 2005. (AP/Czarek Sokolowski, File)

A Polish Museum yielded to the demand of Israel’s Warsaw embassy and removed a controversial video installation depicting a group of naked men and women playing tag in a gas chamber, as part of an art exhibition about Auschwitz .

“On the behalf of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Krakow MOCAK, I am informing that Artur Żmijewski’s video “Game of tag,” considered controversial and offending, is no longer displayed at the exhibition,” Justyna Kuska, the museum’s spokesperson, said in a press statement Thursday.

The video was part of an exhibition titled “Poland – Israel – Germany. The experience of Auschwitz,” which opened last month in Krakow, about the former Nazi death camp’s impact on public discourse. It was endorsed and sponsored by the Israeli Embassy in Poland.

But after drawing considerable criticism from Jewish advocacy groups, the embassy called for the video’s removal.

“The embassy has learned of criticism regarding the video in question and has contacted organizers with a request that the parts deemed offensive be removed,” Michael Sobelman, the embassy’s spokesman, told JTA on Wednesday.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Center of Organizations of Holocaust Survivors in Israel both called the video inappropriate for an exhibition with sponsorship from the embassy.

Polish-born Żmijewski previously exhibited his video during the 2012 Berlin Biennale, which he curated. In the annual contemporary art exhibition’s website, the artist states that he “believes that art may influence the shape and form of social life, language, and memory.”

In February, an Estonian museum pulled the video from a display after similar protests and apologized for any offense it may have caused.

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