Art: Naked men and women playing tag in a gas chamber

September 20, 2015 by J-Wire
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Australia’s B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation Commission (ADC)  has joined the Simon Wiesenthal Center in protesting to Krakow Mayor, Jacek Majcrowski an exhibit named “The Game of Tag” at Krakow’s Museum of Contemporary Art.

Krakow’s Museum of Contemporary Art continues to feature as part of an art exhibit a video showing naked men and women playing tag  in a “gas chamber”.

They have demanded that he immediately order the permanent removal of the exhibit located next to Holocaust hero Oskar Schindler’s factory and mere miles from Auschwitz-Birkenau.

The 9-minute film, entitled “Berek – The Game of Tag,” created in 1999 by Polish artist Artur Zmijewski, claims that part of it was filmed in an actual gas chamber. The video is part of an exhibition entitled, “POLAND-ISRAEL-GERMANY: The Experience of Auschwitz”.

In 2012, the video was removed from an exhibition in Berlin because it was found, “not respecting the dignity of the victims of the Holocaust”. Earlier this year, the exhibition was displayed in an art gallery in Estonia where protests led to the permanent removal of the video.

As Krakow’s Museum of Contemporary Art receives much of its budget from the City of Krakow, we need the Mayor to take action to stop this desecration of and assault on Memory.

A petition demanding its removal can be signed by clicking here:

http://www.wiesenthal.com/siteapps/advocacy/ActionItem.aspx?c=lsKWLbPJLnF&b=9314637

J-Wire proveds a link to the video but publishes the following disclaimer:

BEFORE WATCHING, PLEASE KNOW THAT THIS VIDEO IS HIGHLY OFFENSIVE, CONTAINS FULL FRONTAL NUDITY AND IS INAPPROPRIATE FOR CHILDREN.

This link takes you to the video, currently displayed by Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw website. 

Part of the letter, addressed to Mayor, Jacek Majcrowski reads:

I join with the Simon Wiesenthal Center in urging you to demand the immediate removal of an outrageous and highly offensive video installation, “Berek – The Game of Tag,” showing naked men and women playing tag in a gas chamber, which is featured as part of the art exhibit, “POLAND-ISRAEL-GERMANY: The Experience of Auschwitz” from Krakow’s Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCAK). We all cherish freedom of expression, but this video, which was banned in Germany and Estonia, desecrates the memory of millions of innocent Jews and Poles mass-murdered just kilometers away at Auschwitz-Birkenau. Krakow has done much to memorialize and celebrate the contributions of its Jewish citizens throughout history. This installation, which the Museum director refuses to remove, damages the image of Krakow, as an important cultural bridge between the past, present and future.” 

Dr Dvir Abramovich, Chairman of the ADC, issued the following statement:

Dvir Abramovich

Dvir Abramovich

“We need to work together to ensure that The Museum of Contemporary Art in Krakow pulls the exhibit without delay. Once again, the vulgarisation of the Shoah has reached a new low. This reprehensible and insulting spectacle cheapens, trivialises and exploits the Holocaust at the expense of its victims, survivors and their families.

This tasteless video installation provides no insight and does not bring visitors closer to understanding the culture of remembrance.  Instead, it degrades the historical record of what really happened inside the death camps and the gas chambers where millions of people were callously murdered.

A museum should provide an appropriate and serious avenue for relating the horrors of the Nazi regime, not a forum to desecrate the Holocaust and debase the feelings of those who suffered at the hands of the Third Reich.  There is nothing funny, amusing or entertaining about the gas chambers. The Holocaust  should generate gut-wrenching awe and shock.

Whether we like it or not, the generations to come will learn about the Holocaust from the words and images created and represented by popular culture. Any medium that touches this incomprehensible evil must do so with great sensitivity, responsibility  and understanding.

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