Auschwitz slams Amazon for fake ‘death chess’ game in its Hunters series starring Al Pacino
The Auschwitz Memorial Museum has hit out at the makers of the Amazon's new TV series Hunters for making up scenes of violence against the camp’s prisoners.
The program, which was released on Amazon’s Prime Video platform on Friday, shows SS guards playing a game of chess at the German death camp on a huge board in which prisoners are forced to play the role of chess pieces and kill each other.
Auschwitz Memorial Museum, which preserves the site of the former German concentration and extermination camp, slammed the scene calling it ‘fake’ and ‘dangerous’, saying that it could help Holocaust deniers in the future.
The museum reprimanded Amazon saying that the victims of the Holocaust should be honoured by ‘preserving factual accuracy’.
Hunters, a ten-part drama series, is set in New York in the 1970s and follows a group of Nazi hunters, led by Al Pacino, who are tracking down high-ranking Nazis suspected of planning to create a Fourth Reich in the United States.
The show’s creator defended the scenes in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, saying that he included the scene: “To most powerfully counteract the revisionist narrative that whitewashes Nazi perpetration, by showcasing the most extreme — and representationally truthful — sadism and violence that the Nazis perpetrated against the Jews and other victims.”
On why he felt the need to create a fictional event when there were so many real horrors, he added: “[I]t is true that Nazis perpetrated widespread and extreme acts of sadism and torture – and even incidents of cruel ‘games’ – against their victims. I simply did not want to depict those specific, real acts of trauma.”
Auschwitz Memorial Museum also blasted Amazon on Friday for selling what it called ‘hateful, virulently antisemitic Nazi propaganda’ when it retweeted a letter from the Holocaust Educational Trust to Amazon asking that the online retailer withdraw from sale antisemitic children’s books by the Nazi Julius Streicher.
“When you decide to make a profit on selling vicious antisemitic Nazi propaganda published without any critical comment or context, you need to remember that those words led not only to the #Holocaust but also many other hate crimes,” the museum wrote in a tweet.
Amazon refused to withdraw the books, saying: “As a bookseller, we are mindful of book censorship throughout history, and we do not take this lightly. We believe that providing access to written speech is important, including books that some may find objectionable.”
Julius Streicher was the founder of the antisemitic newspaper Der Stürmer. He was executed after the war for his pivotal role in inciting the extermination of the Jews. His antisemitism was so extreme and his behaviour so irresponsible that Herman Göring banned his staff from reading Der Stürmer.
His book for children The Poisonous Mushroom, which warned about the supposed dangers Jews posed by using the metaphor of an attractive yet deadly mushroom, is one of the books available to buy on Amazon that evoked the ire of the Auschwitz Memorial Museum.
Amazon has said that it will comment on the criticisms of Hunters at a later time.