An offensive entertainment-themed display of Hitler at the gates of Auschwitz has been removed from an Indonesian wax museum after protests.
An Indonesian visual effects museum that encouraged visitors to take selfies with a waxwork of Adolf Hitler against a giant image of the entrance to the Auschwitz extermination camp has removed the exhibit after protests.
The De Mata Trick Eye Museum’s marketing officer said the statue was removed Friday night following an Associated Press story highlighting outrage from Jewish and rights groups.
Human Rights Watch (HRW) had denounced the exhibit as “sickening” and the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC), which campaigns against Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism, demanded its immediate removal.
“Everything about it is wrong. It’s hard to find words for how contemptible it is,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the SWC. “The background is disgusting. It mocks the victims who went in and never came out.”
The museum, which has waxworks of about 80 famous people, had the Hitler figure on display since 2014.
Defending the Museum as ‘Fun’
It initially defended the exhibit as “fun” and said it was one of the most popular waxworks with visitors to the infotainment-style museum in the central Java city of Yogyakarta.
On Sunday, the space at the museum occupied by the Hitler effigy was empty, and the image of Auschwitz, where more than 1 million people were exterminated by the Nazi regime, was gone.
It was not the first time Nazism and its symbols have been normalized or even idealized in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation and home to a tiny Jewish community.
A Nazi-themed cafe in the city of Bandung where waiters wore SS uniforms caused anger abroad for several years until reportedly closing its doors at the beginning of this year.
In 2014, a music video made by Indonesian pop stars as a tribute to presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto stirred outrage with its Nazi overtones.