Amazon’s Nazi-hunters show should be nixed, says Holocaust foundation

Amazon’s first season of “Hunters” was full of historical inaccuracies and can lead to more Holocaust denial, says foundation head.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Shoah Foundation Institute head Stephen Smith has slammed an American fictional TV series about U.S. Nazi hunters led by a Holocaust survivor and asked the producer to cancel its second season.

The respected Holocaust scholar wrote an article in the Jewish Journal, calling Amazon Prime’s Hunters “deceptive, voyeuristic, trivializing pulp nonsense,” that is “the most egregious distortion of Holocaust history in my lifetime.”

The show is set in New York City in 1977. The action-drama follows a group of Nazi hunters starring Al Pacino that discovers that German war criminals are conspiring to create a Fourth Reich in the United States. It was given a 64% rating by viewers on the Rotten Tomatoes review site, based on 101 reviews.

The most problematic element of the show, in Smith’s opinion, is its basic premise. “Survivors of the Shoah sought justice, not revenge,” he noted. “The series’ specious spectacle of eye-for-eye justice … collapses all meaningful differences between victim and perpetrator.”

He reserved special criticism for a scene in which the group gasses 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,” he wrote.

The series “blurs the line between fact and fiction,” he continued, and by doing so, “Hunters muddies the historical record, disrespects those who perished, and provides ammunition to those who seek to deny the truth of the Holocaust.”

It was actually a problem that the show was well acted, he noted, as “everything seem plausible.” When the viewers can become confused as to what is the truth of the Holocaust, “then we have done the work of anti-Semites for them.”

“When everything becomes possible, nothing becomes real. When anything might be true, everything might be false,” he wrote, in explaining how people could use the show’s story lines to deny that the Holocaust ever happened.

The Auschwitz Museum panned the mini-series last month. It especially condemned a scene where humans were used as live chess pieces in a game in a concentration camp and killed when their piece was knocked off the “board.”

Such a fake game, it said, “is not only dangerous foolishness and caricature. It also welcomes future deniers. We honor the victims by preserving factual accuracy.”

Director David Weil defended the scene by saying that it shows the “representationally truthful” nature of the sadistic Nazi regime.