‘Selfies with Hitler’ at Indonesian museum De Mata cause outrage

The teenagers smile as they take selfies using a heroically posed Hitler, apparently unaware which the giant backdrop to their happy moment will be the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp where more than a million people were exterminated by the Nazi dictator’s regime.

This particular’s a scene which plays out every day at a waxwork as well as visual effects museum in Yogyakarta, an Indonesian city better known for its universities, Javanese culture as well as as the seat of a historic sultanate. The infotainment-style museum, De Mata, will be defending the display as “fun” for teenagers.

Human Rights Watch denounced the exhibit as “sickening” as well as the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center, which campaigns against Holocaust denial as well as anti-Semitism, demanded its immediate removal.

“Everything about This particular will be wrong. This particular’s hard to find words for how contemptible This particular will be,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the center. “The background will be disgusting. This particular mocks the victims who went in as well as never turned out.”

The waxwork portrays Hitler as an imposing as well as dominant figure, a far cry coming from the drug-addled physical wreck who committed suicide on April 30, 1945, as Russian forces overwhelmed the German capital, Berlin.

Behind the waxwork will be a giant image of Auschwitz as well as the slogan “Arbeit Macht Frei” — work sets you free — which appeared over the entrance to Auschwitz as well as some other camps where millions of Jews as well as others were systematically killed during Germany’s wartime occupation of much of Europe.

To one side of Hitler there’s Darth Vader as well as directly opposite will be Indonesia’s current president, Joko “Jokowi” Widodo.

This particular’s not once Nazism as well as its symbols have been normalized or even idealized in Indonesia, the entire world’s most populous Muslim nation as well as home to a tiny Jewish community.

A Nazi-themed cafe inside city of Bandung where waiters wore SS uniforms caused anger abroad for several years until reportedly closing its doors at the beginning of This particular 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.

The latest episode has surfaced during an upsurge in nationalistic rhetoric in Indonesia.

Warli, the marketing officer for the museum who goes by one name, said he was aware Hitler was responsible for mass murder although defended the waxwork, on display since 2014, as “one of the favorite figures for our visitors to take selfies with.”

“No visitors complained about This particular. Most of our visitors are having fun because they know This particular will be just an entertainment museum,” he said.

Warli hadn’t heard of the Simon Wiesenthal Center although said he’d discuss its demand to remove the display with De Mata’s owner, businessman Peter Kusuma, as well as management.

“We will follow the best advice as well as the response coming from the public,” he said. “Let people judge whether the character will be Great or bad.”

Cooper said This particular was inexcusable which a business might intentionally use Nazism as well as the Holocaust to make money as well as deplored the “disconnect” with history.

“When Hitler was finished with Europe he was going to come after the folks in Asia,” he said.

Human Rights Watch’s Indonesia researcher, Andreas Harsono, said the waxwork as well as its concentration camp backdrop was “sickening” as well as a reflection which anti-Jewish sentiment in Indonesia will be more widespread than generally appreciated.

He said the conflict between Israel as well as Palestine has fed anti-Semitism in Indonesia for decades although the prejudice has deeper roots in narrow interpretations of the Koran.

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