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Swedish Artist Investigated for Painting with Ashes of Shoah Victim

Complaint Claims Painting is “Disturbing the Peace of the Dead”

By: Leonard Carl
Published: December 7th, 2012 in Culture » Art » News
Carl Michael von Hausswolff

A Swedish artist who recently garnered headlines for creating a painting out of Holocaust victims’ ashes is being investigated and a decision will then be made if charges will be filed.

The investigation was launched against artist Carl Michael von Hausswolff only after a complaint was filed by a private citizen claiming that von Hausswolff’s work was “disturbing the peace of the dead.”

Meanwhile, von Hausswolff has the support of at least one individual in the person of Martin Bryder, the owner of an art gallery in Lund, who recently told Sverige Radio that he “sees no moral problem or flaw with exhibiting,” the painting which was made from the ashes of victims from the Majdanek extermination camp.

A teacher of Yiddish and member of Lund’s Jewish community, Salomon Schulman, wrote in a local newspaper that he found the artwork “disgusting” and “a desecration of Jewish bodies,” before adding, “Nowhere was the Third Reich more popular than among the educated academics. Today, the Holocaust and racism are still part of their salon talks.”

As part of the gallery display, von Hausswolff is quoted as saying: “The ash has followed me, always been there ... as if the ash contains energies or memories or souls of people ... people tortured, tormented and murdered by other people in one of the 19th century’s most ruthless wars.”

The directorate of the museum at Majdanek is angered by the art. "We are deeply shocked and outraged by the information that the painting allegedly was made with the ashes of Majdanek victims. This action is an artistic provocation deserving only to be condemned," said a statement published by the museum staff.

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