De ARCA Statue Art Museum in Yogyakarta, on the Indonesian island of Java, removed a life-size statue of Adolf Hitler from its exhibit after the backlash it received from international communities.
Many people expressed outrage after several photos were shared on social media showing students and others taking selfies with Hitler in front of a backdrop set in the Auschwitz concentration camp.
There were even pictures that depicted young boys making a Nazi salute with the life-size model, according to the BBC.
The museum claimed that it did not intend to offend anyone with its Nazi display, which is one of 80 throughout the building. Jamie Misbah, the operating manager of De ARCA Statue Art Museum, told AFP that this was for educational purposes only.
“We don’t want to attract outrage. Our purpose to display the Hitler figure in the museum is to educate,” he said, The Jakarta Post reported.
But not everyone finds the exhibit educational. Rabbi Abraham Cooper from The Simon Wiesenthal Center, a Jewish human rights organization, expressed his criticism while speaking with AFP.
“Everything about it is wrong. It’s hard to find words for how contemptible it is,” Cooper said. “The background is disgusting. It mocks the victims who went in and never came out.“
Approximately 1.1 million people died at Auschwitz during the Holocaust. They are mainly European Jews, but other groups such as Roma gypsies and Soviet Prisoners-of-War (POW) were also recorded.
Historians believe that the ones who should be blamed for the lack of sensitivity towards the exhibit are not the people, but the school system. It fails to educate and raise awareness on what happened to the victims of the Holocaust.
In January, a Nazi-themed cafe in Bandung, Java, which featured swastikas and pictures of Hitler on its walls, was forced to close down after it sparked outrage worldwide.