Drop ‘Hunters,’ head of Steven Spielberg’s Holocaust foundation urges Amazon
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Drop ‘Hunters,’ head of Steven Spielberg’s Holocaust foundation urges Amazon

Scholar Stephen Smith says TV series blurs line between victims and perpetrators because survivors ‘sought justice, not revenge’

Al Pacino, left, and Logan Lerman, right, are Jews out for revenge in Amazon Studios' 'Hunters.' (Christopher Saunders via JTA)
Al Pacino, left, and Logan Lerman, right, are Jews out for revenge in Amazon Studios' 'Hunters.' (Christopher Saunders via JTA)

JTA — The director of the Holocaust foundation founded by Steven Spielberg has called on Amazon Prime to not produce a second season of “Hunters,” its fictional show about a crew of Nazi hunters in 1970s America.

“Survivors of the Shoah sought justice, not revenge,” renowned Holocaust scholar Stephen Smith wrote in an op-ed published Thursday by the Jewish Journal. Smith heads the USC Shoah Foundation Institute, the archive of survivor testimonies initiated by Spielberg in 1994.

By blurring the difference, Smith wrote, the show “collapses all meaningful differences between victim and perpetrator.”

Smith cited one scene in the pilot in which the vigilante avengers gas a former Nazi chemist in her shower.

“Jews never gassed Nazis. Period. That I must even make this point is proof enough how perilous this slippery slope can become,” Smith wrote. “Amazon must not renew it for a second season.

“By blurring the line between fact and fiction, Hunters muddies the historical record, disrespects those who perished, and provides ammunition to those who seek to deny the truth of the Holocaust,” he wrote.

If the filmmakers “had taken the time and trouble to listen to some real experiences,” he added, “the flashbacks to the Holocaust in the series could have been real things that happened to real people, rather than the fantasies of scriptwriters.”

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