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July 29, 2014 / 2 Av, 5774
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Artist Uses Ashes of Burnt Holocaust Victims to Paint Picture


An uproar over the appropriation of the burnt remains of Jewish Holocaust victims for use in an artwork has swept the Jewish world and raised questions as to how the ashes remaining at European concentration camps are treated.

Artist Carl Michael von Hausswolff used ashes he took from the crematoria of the Majdanek concentration camp in Poland in 1989 to create a painting which is now on display in the Swedish city of Lund.

According to a report in Britain’s Telegraph newspaper, an important figure in the Swedish Jewish community, Salomon Schulman, discovered the use of the ashes and wrote a letter to his local newspaper, expressing his disgust for the appropriation of Jewish remains – or anyone’s remains, for that matter – to make art.

For his part, Von Hausswolff said the ashes were deeply meaningful to him, and “contain the memories and the souls of people… tormented and murdered… in the most vicious war of the 20th Century.”

Approximately 360,000 people, over 60% of whom were Jews, died at Majdanek.

About the Author: Malkah Fleisher is a graduate of Cardozo Law School in New York City. She is an editor/staff writer at JewishPress.com and co-hosts a weekly Israeli FM radio show. Malkah lives with her husband and two children on the Mount of Olives in Jerusalem.


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5 Responses to “Artist Uses Ashes of Burnt Holocaust Victims to Paint Picture”

  1. H Fragman Abramson says:

    First the Nazis desecrate Jewish life and the corpse that remained. If that isn’t enough, the keepers of memorial find a new way to desecrate our dead. It is no surprise that the painting hangs in Sweden! Disgusting!

  2. Patty Haley says:

    I'm speechless…

  3. Grace Acosta says:

    So much WTF there, I don't even know where to start. I was eating dinner while reading, and I literally lost my appetite.

  4. Anonymous says:

    ….soooo this lowlife just scoops up a bunch of ashes to keep for a future project? also I'm speechless!

    When I visited Dachau in 1977 and Auschwitz in 1991, I saw the ovens but there we're no ashes that people could just take.. There really is more to this story!

    When I retired I started to paint…just as a hobby. I'v done a number of Holocaust pieces from photos. My cousin gave me a Nazi Flag her uncle captured in WW2…I thought that maybe I could include it in a painting of some sort…but I've never been able to work it out! I know I should do something disgusting to it and burn it but can't seem to do it.

  5. Dan Sigala says:

    Another eccentric artist thinking he's above the notion that this is repulsive to say the least!

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