Outrage over Swedish artist using ashes of Holocaust victims to make painting
A Swedish artist has caused outrage after it was revealed that he used the ashes of incinerated Nazi death camp victims to make a painting.
Carl Michael von Hausswolff claims he used ashes he stole during tour of concentration camp to create macabre painting, prompting Jewish leaders to call it desecration.
Hausswolff claimed while touring the Majdanek camp in 1989, he stole the ashes, mixed them with water, and used the concoction to paint a series of gray streaks on the painting, the New York Daily News reports.
According to the report, a review in the Swedish-language newspaper Sydsvenskan of the gallery show Hausswolf's artwork appears in.
It was "as if the ash contained energies or memories or 'souls' from people... people tortured, tormented and murdered by other people in one of the 20th Century's most ruthless wars," the painter wrote on the website of the gallery where the piece is on display.
Officials at Majdanek, which is now a museum, condemned the painter, the report said.
"This action is an artistic provocation deserving only to be condemned. In addition, it is certain that the Swedish painter did not enter into possession of the ashes legally," they said in a statement.
Outraged Jewish leaders in Sweden called it "a desecration of Jewish bodies."
"It is outrageous that an artist would even consider using the ashes of living human beings in this manner. The use of human remains as art is disrespectful and offensive, period, but what makes this so much worse is that Carl Michael von Hausswolff is also doing it at the expense of Hitler's victims," said Abraham Foxman, head of the Anti-Defamation League in New York City.
Police in Lublin, Poland, where the camp is located, said they are poised to open an investigation once they receive a formal complaint, the report added.