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Estonia - Museum Apologizes For Exhibit Making Light Of Holocaust

Published on: February 16, 2015 10:24 PM
By: Jerusalem Post 
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Estonia - An Estonian museum has apologized for exhibiting works which critics have accused of making light of the Holocaust, following a public outcry by the local Jewish community. It removed two pieces that have drawn particular ire.

One of the video installations at the Tartu Art Museum featured nude men and women playing tag in a gas chamber, while the second showed a “Holocaust survivor” having his concentration camp tattoo re-inked. They were both part of an exhibit entitled “My Poland: On Recalling and Forgetting,” that curators explained was intended to spark discussion of the reality of the Holocaust in order to “acknowledge the minorities in our society and to address growing extremism and xenophobia.”

Another work showed a group of smiling men, women, and children, some bundled up in thick blankets, standing together behind a barbed wire fence wearing concentration camp uniforms. A third showed a man and a woman driving in a car, the man pointing through the windshield to the word Holocaust on a mountainside in huge letters in the style of the famous Hollywood sign.

Both the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the organized Estonian Jewish community had accused the museum of ridiculing and mocking the memory of the Holocaust. In light of public feedback, the museum decided to remove two of the works, curator Rael Artel told The Jerusalem Post on Monday.

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“The topic is difficult and emotionally exhausting,” she said. “We have unintentionally insulted the local Jewish community by exhibiting these artworks. We are sorry.

The time is not right to discuss historically painful topics with the mediation of so provocative artworks,” she said.

In response, Dr. Efraim Zuroff, the head of the Wiesenthal Center’s Jerusalem bureau, said that he is happy “that they acknowledged that those films could be offensive, but the problem is that other parts of the exhibition are in bad taste and it’s unfortunate that they didn’t shut down the whole thing.”

“At least the most offensive part has been removed,” he added, thanking the Estonia Jewish community for speaking out.



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Read Comments (6)  —  Post Yours »

1

 Feb 17, 2015 at 04:25 AM Anonymous Says:

Let's say some artist depicted the ISIS beheading of 21 Egyptian Christians with a work of art showing them playing catch with each others heads. And another artist portrayed the scene as the ISIS with pig heads holding human captives. The first artist is evil and the second is good. Same here. These Estonian artists are evil and so is the museum. Do we need a philosopher to figure this out?

2

 Feb 17, 2015 at 06:08 AM MarkTwain2 Says:

No wonder dilbert cartoon always singles out Estonia as wayward and backward

3

 Feb 17, 2015 at 07:24 AM Art Critic Says:

Reply to #1  
Anonymous Says:

Let's say some artist depicted the ISIS beheading of 21 Egyptian Christians with a work of art showing them playing catch with each others heads. And another artist portrayed the scene as the ISIS with pig heads holding human captives. The first artist is evil and the second is good. Same here. These Estonian artists are evil and so is the museum. Do we need a philosopher to figure this out?

Actually, it is your first image that I find both creative and absolutely terrifying.

4

 Feb 17, 2015 at 01:29 PM 5TResident Says:

I can't believe there's a local Jewish community in Estonia. A lot of Nazi soldiers were Latvian and Estonian. It is historically an anti-Semitic country.

5

 Feb 17, 2015 at 04:24 PM Rafuel Says:

Reply to #4  
5TResident Says:

I can't believe there's a local Jewish community in Estonia. A lot of Nazi soldiers were Latvian and Estonian. It is historically an anti-Semitic country.

1. Yes, there is.
2. Estonians are anti-Semitic, but much less so than Russians, Germans and Poles, yimach shemam v'zichram. By Eastern European standards, Estonians are just run of the mill anti-Semites.

6

 Feb 17, 2015 at 09:02 PM kosher Says:

Reply to #2  
MarkTwain2 Says:

No wonder dilbert cartoon always singles out Estonia as wayward and backward

Actually, Dilbert makes fun of an imaginary country called Elbonia.

7

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