Berlin police stop activists from removing artwork allegedly containing Holocaust victim ashes
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.”
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.
In December, authorities said the Center for Political Beauty had to remove the pillar. The group appealed the decision.
The Center for Political Beauty is known for its controversial art installations.
ed/cmk (AP, epd)