Hitler statue removed from museum because people kept taking selfies with it

Hitler statue removed from museum because people kept taking selfies with it

When preserving moments from history, it's important to do so respectfully - especially when the particular event or era that is being commemorated is one that still affects a lot of people today.

As World War II and its effects are still in living memory for a lot of people, it's obviously essential to keep all museum displays or memorials as authentic and respectful as possible. A good example of this is the concentration camp, Auschwitz, which - while having been opened to the public - is still kept in its original condition in order to educate others on the terrors faced by Jews and other minorities at the hands of the Nazis.

The De ARCA Statue Art Museum, on the other hand, didn't do quite as well when it came to showing people the true horrors of war.

The Museum, which is in Java, Indonesia, came under fire after it installed a life-size statue of Adolf Hitler. Behind the infamous Nazi leader was an image of the "Arbeit Macht Frei" gates which stand at the entrance to Auschwitz, making the scene look like an invitation to take pictures with the statue.

And that's exactly what people did.

A number of visitors to the museum thought it would be totally acceptable to take a grinning selfie with the Hitler statue - obviously not realising the implications. Others event went so far as to imitate the Nazi salute beside the figure, and parents reportedly invited their children to join in with the photographs.

As a result, the display attracted a huge number of complaints.

"Everything about it is wrong. It's hard to find words for how contemptible it is," said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, a member of a Jewish human rights organisation. "The background is disgusting. It mocks the victims who went in and never came out."

Jamie Misbah, the museum's operations manager, agreed to remove the statue as a result of such complaints, but insisted that it was never intended to offend anyone.

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

The operations manager also said he thought it was "normal" for tourists to take photos in front of displays and exhibits, but also conceded that it might have been perceived as insensitive towards visitors from other parts of the world.

This is not the first time that a visitor attraction in Java has caused outrage due to use of Nazi imagery, either. In January, a controversial Nazi-themed cafe in Bandung, a Javanese city, was shut down after several years of operation.

The venue had featured photographs of Hitler, Nazi propaganda, and swastikas all over the walls. Understandably, people weren't happy about such a horrific ideology being turned into a form of decoration.

As most Indonesians are of Muslim faith, there is very little education on Jewish history and culture, and historians have blamed their poor schooling for a lack of awareness and sensitivity towards victims of the Holocaust and the World Wars.

But, while ignorance is not a very strong excuse for a destination which is visited by people from all over the world, at least the cafe and the statue have been removed now.