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Indonesia

Indonesian museum’s Nazi exhibit closes after complaints

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 11 November, 2017, 2:09pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 11 November, 2017, 10:47pm

An Indonesian museum that allowed visitors to take selfies with a life-size wax sculpture of Hitler against a backdrop of Auschwitz concentration camp has removed the exhibit following complaints, the manager said on Saturday.

De ARCA Statue Art Museum in the Javanese city of Yogyakarta drew condemnation from rights groups after details of the controversial display were published in foreign media.

The exhibit features a Hitler statue standing in front of a huge photo of the gates of Auschwitz concentration camp.

The museum’s operations manager, Jamie Misbah, said the wax sculpture had been removed after the building was told about criticism from prominent Jewish organisation the Simon Wiesenthal Centre.

“We don’t want to attract outrage,” Misbah said. “Our purpose to display the Hitler figure in the museum is to educate.”

The Hitler sculpture is one of about 80 figures, including other world leaders and celebrities, at the wax and visual effects centre.

The Nazi-themed exhibit was a popular attraction for visitors to take selfies, and photos circulating on social media showed visitors posing with Hitler and in some cases, saluting like Nazis.

Misbah said he thought it was “normal” for visitors to take photos in front of displays, but said the museum respected the exhibit had upset people from around the world.

Historians have blamed Indonesia’s education system for the lack of awareness and sensitivity about second world war issues.

In January, a controversial Nazi-themed cafe in the western Javanese city of Bandung was closed.

The venue, which featured swastikas on walls and photos of Hitler, sparked criticism when reports about the unusual venue surfaced several years ago.