Via Deutsche Welle

Activists in Berlin have said police prevented them from dismantling a controversial art installation that has angered Jewish groups for allegedly containing the remains of Holocaust victims.

The Performance Art Committee said about 20 of its members attempted to cut down a pillar holding an urn that was erected in front of the German parliament by the left-wing art activist group the Center for Political Beauty in December.

The activist group said they had both Jewish and non-Jewish members among their ranks.

Police spokesman Martin Halweg confirmed that the Center for Political Beauty had submitted a complaint of criminal damage to the police following the incident.

The Performance Art Committee said they planned to cut off the pillar and take it to a secret place, and store it safely so that “historians in 2,000 years could discover the purpose of this pillar.”

Watch video 04:16

Germany: Living with anti-Semitism

Disrespectful stunt: Jewish groups

The Center for Political Beauty previously apologized for allegedly placing ashes collected from Holocaust sites within the urn on the pillar. Under Jewish tradition, it is disrespectful to move the remains of the dead.

Jewish groups said that regardless of whether the urn contained actual remains, the stunt was a sign of deep disrespect to the victims.

Read more: Opinion: Angela Merkel finds the right words during Auschwitz visit

In December, authorities said the Center for Political Beauty had to remove the pillar. The group appealed the decision.

READ ALSO  Israeli minister claims PM secretly met with Saudi Crown Prince, Saudis deny report, Netanyahu refuses to comment

The Center for Political Beauty is known for its controversial art installations.

Watch video 02:24

Merkel at Auschwitz: ‘I am filled with deep shame’

Each evening at 1830 UTC, DW’s editors send out a selection of the day’s hard news and quality feature journalism. You can sign up to receive it directly here.

ed/cmk (AP, epd)