Several Jewish groups, including the Organisation of Holocaust Survivors in Israel and the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, have written to the Polish President to demand an explanation as to why a lewd video was allowed to be filmed inside a former Nazi gas chamber.
The video was filmed by a group of artists and displayed in 2015, drawing criticism from Jewish groups. Whilst it depicted a game of tag in a gas chamber, the shooting location was not disclosed, and many assumed it was done in a studio. After an investigation, it was discovered that the video was filmed in the actual gas chambers of Stutthof concentration camp. The gas chambers were added in 1943, and 65,000 people were killed in the camp, including 28,000 Jews.
The joint statement reads:
“At the time, no comment or word of critique was heard from Polish official sources regarding the video, neither from the Prime Minister’s office, nor from any official/ government representative- not Poland’s Ministry of Culture or Foreign Ministry, or from Krakow’s city mayor”
“Extensive research recently revealed that the site where the video was filmed is the gas chamber at the Stutthof concentration camp, and it is this discovery which prompted the demand for clarifications from the Polish leaders and the administration of the Stutthof concentration camp site (and museum)”
The letter demands information as to whether the artists were able to “obtain permission from the Stutthof administrators to make this video, what rules exist for proper conduct at the site, how these are enforced”.
In 2015, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Krakow appeared to be dishonest when questioned by Jewish groups, removing the exhibition as they reassured the Jewish community, before immediately reinstating it. Astonishingly, the exhibition to which it belonged was originally sponsored by the Israeli embassy, who condemned it and withdrew their support once the nature of the display became apparent.
The filming of a video by a group of “artists” in gas chambers, a location that epitomises the sheer evil of the Nazi death machine, displays a manifest, brazen disregard for the victims of the Nazi Holocaust, both Jewish and non-Jewish. The pressing questions that have been asked in this letter remain unanswered, and steps must immediately be taken to ensure that the memory of those who were murdered by the Nazis is not desecrated further.