Praying Hitler Statue In Warsaw Spurs Controversy

Statue of Hitler praying.jpg
A statue of Adolph Hitler kneeling in prayer in a courtyard in the former Warsaw Ghetto - where hundreds of thousands of Jews were forced by Nazis to live in inhumane conditions during World War II - has upset those who say the statue's placement is offensive.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish Advocacy group, described the decision to place the statue in the former ghetto as "a senseless provocation which insults the memory of the Nazi's Jewish victims," according to the Guardian of London.

Before World War II, Warsaw had the largest Jewish community in Poland and Europe; worldwide it was second only to New York City, according to the Holocaust Encyclopedia. During World War II, about 300,000 Jews in the ghetto died - most of hunger and disease and after being sent to concentration camps where they were killed.

Organizers argue that the statue is intended to be thought-provoking, according to The Associated Press. The exhibition's catalogue says art "can force us to face the evil of the world."

The statue, made by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan in 2001, is titled, "HIM" and has drawn thousands of viewers since it was installed in Warsaw last month.  

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Isolde Raftery
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