Indonesia’s De ARCA Statue Art Museum in the city of Jogjakarta (Yogyakarta) has removed a Nazi-themed exhibit after receiving a large number of complaints from people across the globe.
The museum exhibit showed a life-sized wax model of Adolf Hitler, the former Nazi dictator, standing near Auschwitz concentration camp. The exhibit also displayed the slogan “Arbeit Macht Frei” that appeared at the entrance of all Nazi camps where millions of people were killed.
This exhibit was a popular attraction among local visitors who used to take their selfies with the statue of Hitler. It was one of nearly 80 exhibits in De ARCA Statue Art Museum, according to the BBC. A few months back, details of this exhibit were published in the international media and since then, human rights groups and activists had been criticizing the museum and demanding removal of the exhibit.
“We don’t want to attract outrage,” Jamie Misbah, the museum’s operations manager, told news agency AFP.
Misbah told the AFP that the primary aim of this exhibit was to educate people about the world’s history. He said the statue was one of the most popular waxworks among visitors to capture selfies with, and no visitor ever complained about it.
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Rabbi Abraham Cooper, a prominent member of the Simon Wiesenthal Center, described the background of the exhibit as completely “disgusting” and mocked millions of people who died because of the atrocities of Hitler. Simon Wiesenthal Center is a well-known Jewish human rights group based in Los Angeles. The group was founded to campaign against Holocaust denials. A few days back, the Simon Wiesenthal Center had written to the management of the museum and demanded the immediate withdrawal of the exhibit.
“Everything about it is wrong. It’s hard to find words for how contemptible it is,” Cooper told news agency AP.
Some human rights activists believe there is a lack of education about the Holocaust, and this is the primary reason behind lack of sensitivity and awareness among people on such matters. Some other activists and historians also suggest that making wax models of figures like Hitler is like repeating the mistakes of the past.
In Indonesia, this was not the first incident in which use of Nazi-based symbols was criticized by international groups. In January this year, a Nazi-themed cafe in Bandung, Java, was closed following international criticism that lasted for many years. The waiters in this café wore SS uniforms and the walls of the café featured pictures of Hitler.
[Featured Image by Hulton Archive/Getty Images]