WARSAW, Poland (AP) - A statue of Adolf Hitler praying on his knees is on display in the former Warsaw Ghetto, the place where so many Jews were killed or sent to their deaths by Hitler's regime, and it is provoking mixed reactions.
The work, "HIM" by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan,
has drawn many visitors since it was installed last month. It is
visible only from a distance, and the artist doesn't make explicit what
Hitler is praying for, but the broader point, organizers say, is to make
people reflect on the nature of evil.
In any case, some are angered by the statue's presence in such a sensitive site.
One Jewish advocacy group, the Simon Wiesenthal Center, this week called the statue's placement "a senseless provocation which insults the memory of the Nazis' Jewish victims."
"As far as the Jews were
concerned, Hitler's only 'prayer' was that they be wiped off the face of
the earth," the group's Israel director, Efraim Zuroff, said in a
However, many others are praising
the artwork, saying it has a strong emotional impact. And organizers
defend putting it on display in the former ghetto.
Fabio Cavallucci, director of the Center for Contemporary Art,
which oversaw the installation, said, "There is no intention from the
side of the artist or the center to insult Jewish memory."
"It's an artwork that tries to speak about the situation of hidden evil everywhere," he said.
The Warsaw ghetto was an area of
the city which the Nazis sealed off after they invaded Poland. They
forced Jews to live in cramped, inhuman conditions there as they awaited
deportation to death camps. Many died from hunger or disease or were
shot by the Germans before they could be transported to the camps.
The Hitler installation is just
one object in a retrospective of Cattelan's work titled "Amen," a show
that explores life, death, good and evil. The other works are on display
at the center itself, which is housed in the Ujazdowski Castle.
The Hitler representation is
visible from a hole in a wooden gate across town on Prozna Street.
Viewers only see the back of the small figure praying in a courtyard.
Because of its small size, it appears to be a harmless schoolboy.
"Every criminal was once a tender, innocent and defenseless child," the center said in a commentary on the work.
Poland's chief rabbi, Michael
Schudrich, said he was consulted on the installation's placement ahead
of time and did not oppose it because he saw value in the artist's
attempt to try to raise moral questions by provoking viewers.
He said he was reassured by
curators who told him there was no intention of rehabilitating Hitler
but rather of showing that evil can present itself in the guise of a
"sweet praying child."
"I felt there could be
educational value to it," said Schudrich, who also wrote an introduction
to the exhibition's catalogue in which he says art can "force us to
face the evil of the world."
On Friday, a stream of people walked by to view the work, and many praised it.
"It had a big emotional impact on
me. It's provocative, but it's not offensive," said Zofia Jablonska, a
30-year-old lawyer. "Having him pray in the place where he would kill
people — this was the best place to put it."
Cattelan caused controversy in
Warsaw in 2000 when another gallery showed his work "La Nona Ora" — or
"The Ninth Hour" — which depicts the late Pope John Paul II being
crushed by a meteorite. That offended many in Poland, which is both
deeply Catholic and was John Paul's homeland.
Thursday, December 5 2013 9:19 PM EST2013-12-06 02:19:22 GMT
UPDATE: On Thursday two people were arrested after a high speed chase. It ended in the area of 13th & Lindeke near Hwy. 195.>>
UPDATE: On Thursday two people were arrested after a high speed chase. It ended in the area of 13th & Lindeke near Hwy. 195. Spokane County Sheriff's Deputies tell KHQ that the male driver rammed at least 2 patrol vehicles before being taken into custody. >>>SEND BREAKING NEWS PHOTOS TO PIX@KHQ.COM| >>
Friday, December 6 2013 2:18 PM EST2013-12-06 19:18:21 GMT
KHQ.COM - We all know that passwords protect our personal accounts and information. >>
KHQ.COM - We all know that passwords protect our personal accounts and information. However it's important to make sure that your password is unique and difficult to prevent people and software programs from figuring it out.>>
Tuesday afternoon the North Idaho Violent Crimes Task Force arrested 22-year-old Michael Anthony Sanchez in connection with the robbery of the Dominos Pizza that happened in Hayden back on November 15th. In a press release issued Thursday afternoon, the Kootenai County Sheriff's Office did not elaborate on details of the arrest.>>