A German activist organisation placed a large container near of Germany’s parliament building that it says contains the ashes of victims of the Nazis.
The message of the art-activist collective Zentrum für Politische Schönheit, or Center for Political Beauty, is that the government should not work with the far right, the German news service Deutsche Welle reported.
The centre said on its website that it created the installation to show that in Germany, “the legacy of the Holocaust is rendered void by political apathy, the rejection of refugees and cowardice.” The installation is also meant to remember the victims of the Holocaust, organisers told Deutsche Welle.
The grey cylindrical column is partly illuminated from the inside with an orange light that allows viewers to see the soil sample.
The group said it spent two years digging up soil from 23 sites across Germany, and in Poland and Ukraine, including at the Auschwitz, Sobibor and Treblinka Nazi camps, where Nazis were active in the mass murder of Jews and others. Lab results found traces of human remains in over 70 percent of the 240 samples, the group said in a statement.
“At one of the horrific sites we found ashes and bone char a meter deep,” according to the group, Deutsche Welle reported. “This column contains the (drill) sample from this soil that has been preserved for all eternity.”
The Central Council of Jews in Germany and the International Auschwitz Committee condemned the urn and its contents.
Council President Josef Schuster told Deutsch Welle that his umbrella organisation welcomes political protest against the far right, but called the installation “problematic because it violates Jewish religious law about not disturbing the dead.”
He said that a rabbi should be consulted on handling the remains when the installation is dismantled.
Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.
For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.
Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.
You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.
100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...
Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.
There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.
In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.
Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.
In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.
Voice of our community to wider society
The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.
We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.