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Museum removes 'fun' Hitler display after protests

Visitors had been encouraged to take selfies with the waxwork.

The controversial exhibit
The controversial exhibit
Image: Slamet Riyadi/AP/Press Association Images

AN INDONESIAN VISUAL effects museum that encouraged visitors to take selfies with a waxwork of Adolf Hitler against a giant image of the Auschwitz concentration camp has removed the exhibit after protests.

The De Mata Trick Eye Museum’s marketing officer said the statue was removed on Friday night after outrage from Jewish and rights groups.

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

The museum, which has waxworks of about 80 famous people, had the Hitler figure on display since 2014.

It initially defended the exhibit as “fun” and said it was one of the most popular waxworks with visitors to the infotainment-style museum in the central Java city of Yogyakarta.

Yesterday, the space at the museum occupied by Hitler was empty and the image of Auschwitz, where more than one million people were killed by the Nazi regime, was gone.

Use of Nazi symbolism 

It was not the first time Nazism and its symbols have been normalised or even idealised in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation and home to a tiny Jewish community.

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

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