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Human Ashes used for painting?

Polish prosecutors are investigating a painting that allegedly contains human ashes taken from crematoria at the former Nazi German death camp of Majdanek.

Prior to an exhibition in late 2012 at the Martin Bryder Gallery in Lund, southern Sweden, artist Carl Michael von Hausswolff revealed that he had used ashes from the crematoria for a painting in the show.

Following a media outcry, the gallery closed the exhibition.

Swedish police began looking into the matter, but soon dropped their preliminary investigation.

The prosecutor’s office in Lublin is investigating the case in relation to article 262 of Poland’s Criminal Code.

Paragraph 1, which pertains to desecration of human remains, carries a maximum penalty of two years imprisonment. Paragraph 2, which concerns thefts made from graves or places of rest of the dead, carries a maximum penalty of eight years.

Von Hausswolff allegedly took the ashes during a trip to Poland in 1989, when he visited the Majdanek Museum near Lublin. However, it was not until 2010 that he conceived the idea for the painting.

The Majdanek Museum has issued a statement arguing that “the Swedish artist certainly did not come into possession of the victims’ ashes in a legal manner.

“We hope that the authorities quickly determine whether there has been a theft and desecration of the remains of the victims.”

The museum acknowledged that “perhaps this is just an artistic provocation that simply deserves condemnation.”

It is estimated that 78,000 people died at Majdanek during the Second World War. The majority of the victims were Jewish.

January 9, 2013 - Posted by | News | , , ,

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