A gallery exhibition in Lund which showed paintings using ashes taken from the crematorium at a World War II Nazi death camp, has been closed after strong protests from the Jewish community, reports newspaper Sydsvenskan.
Artist Carl Michael von Hauswolff claimed last week that he took the ashes during a visit to the Majdanek concentration camp in the late 80's. He mixed the ashes with water and used them to paint his nine pictures in his exhibition "Memory Works", which opened 10 November and was due to continue until Saturday 15 December.
Gallery head Martin Bryder, who had relatives who disappeared in the camps and who did not see any moral problems involved, says he has pulled the pictures earlier than planned because of adverse local and international reaction.
"I have seen the reactions, from both the Jewish community in Malmö and from the Simon Wiesenthal Centre. Christmas should be a time of peace and harmony. So I am closing the exhibition," he told the local Sydsvenskan.
Author Salomon Schulman, who also had relatives who died in the concentration camps, was one of the critics and told Sydsvenskan that he would never go to a gallery "to see this desecration of Jewish bodies".
In an open letter to artist Carl Michael von Hauswolff, Shimon Samuels, Director for International Relations of the Simon Wiesenthal Centre, wrote " Mr. von Hausswolff, you, like the Nazis' use human skin for lampshades and fat to produce soap have similarly twice murdered the bodies that were once the ashes you have desecrated, turning art into abomination. Hitler,as an aspirant painter, would have surely applauded".