Israeli art student obstinately justifies stealing Holocaust artifacts from Auschwitz

After removing the materials from the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp, an Israeli art student tells a local newspaper she can “act according to her own laws,” having no qualms about stealing assorted items for an exhibition in her graduation show.

By i24NEWS

 

An Israeli woman facing potential charges in Poland after she snatched artifacts from the former Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp for use in her college art project has insisted that she can “act according to her own laws.”

Removing items from the site, where more than one million people are estimated to have been murdered during the Holocaust, is strictly prohibited, a rule made clear by numerous signs dotted around the compound.

Auschwitz Barracks – Photo: IsraelandStuff/PP

Yet Rotem Bides, a final year arts student at Beit Berl College in Kfar Saba, told the Yedioth Ahronot newspaper she had no qualms about taking spoons, a shard of glass, a nail and other items for exhibition in her graduation show.

Bides, who did not respond to a request for comment, even prominently displays in her project a sign on which it is written in bold red font that “it is forbidden to move, remove, or damage any of the structures or items on the grounds of the Museum and under its protection.”

Furious, the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum said it intends to report the case to Polish prosecutors.

“This is an extremely painful and outrageous story for us,” Museum spokesman Bartosz Bartyzel told i24NEWS in an emailed statement.

“The Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial Site is a protected integral whole. It is a clear evidence of the tragedy of the Holocaust and the Second World War, which is to testify for future generations.”

“It is difficult to even imagine that a theft could be justified in any way – also through art which can be seen only as an attempt to gain publicity.”

Bartyzel said the Museum found out about the alleged theft only through the Israeli media report, and that could not verify that the items were removed from the grounds.

As well as Polish authorities, the Museum has also written to the Israeli Ambassador in Poland, and Bartyzel said he hopes “that the Israeli Prosecutors will be up to the task.”

The Israeli Embassy in Warsaw has been contacted for comment.

The unremorseful thief, Rotem Bides – (screenshot from Ynet)

Lying at the center of Nazi Germany’s web of concentration and extermination facilities, Auschwitz was a sprawling detention and slave labour camp in southern Poland that also included the gas chambers and ovens of Birkenau.

By way of explaining her decision to remove the array of material, Bides noted to Yedioth Ahronotthat her grandparents were Holocaust survivors.

“I felt it was something I had to do,” she told the newspaper. “Millions of people were murdered based on the moral laws of a certain country, under a certain regime. And if these are the laws, I can go there and act according to my own laws. The statement I’m making here is that laws are determined by humans, and that morality is something that changes from time to time and from culture to culture.

“These are the things I want to deal with. I am a third generation to the Holocaust, but I’m not saying I’m allowed to do it because my grandfather was in Auschwitz. I’m simply asking the questions. I’m concerned that after all the survivors are gone, the Holocaust will turn into a myth, something that cannot be perceived.”

Bides’ supervisor, acclaimed Israel-prize winning visual artist Michal Neeman, leapt to her pupil’s defence in the same article.

“The interesting thing is she brings it to an extreme place in which she feels the need to shock herself before shocking us,” said Neeman. “She isn’t manipulative in the uninteresting way: wanting money, success or publicity.”

Theft from former Nazi sites across Europe has long been a problem for those who oversee the facilities, with motivations ranging from familial mementos, artifact smuggling and art.

Those found guilty of theft from Auschwitz-Birkenau face up to ten years in prison, according to a BBC report from last year which recounted how two British teens were charged with stealing items from the ground adjacent to where Jews were forced into the gas chambers.

 

View original i24NEWS publication at:
http://www.i24news.tv/en/news/international/europe/150844-170719-israeli-art-student-defiant-amid-outrage-over-theft-from-auschwitz

5 comments

  1. Mirek Goldberg says:

    The most outrageous and infamous theft from the Auschwitz Memorial Museum to date. has to be the stealing in 2009 of “Arbeit Macht Frei” gate sign from the entrance gate.

    http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/europe/former-neo-nazi-jailed-for-auschwitz-sign-theft-2172533.html

  2. israelandstuffcom says:

    She considers her act, thievery from the Nazis, which is why she has no remorse. But she actually stole it from a museum.

    I think she’s been educated enough about the Holocaust. She’s too arrogant…and that needs to be corrected.

    Remember Otto Warmbier, the 22-year-old student who was caught on camera stealing a political banner off his hotel wall in North Korea?

    Let her rot in prison for 3-5 years until her arrogance turns into remorse….but NOT in Israel…where she’ll get fat and a free education.

  3. Ariela Heilman says:

    My mother was an Auschwitz survivor and gave birth to my sister and me in Israel . With G-d’s blessing she left 4 grandchildren to carry on her survivor’s spirit and bear witness to her resistance and heroism in Auschwitz. It’s the site of her 20 year old sister’s lynching 20 days before the camp was emptied for the death march. Auschwitz is the only cemetary we have . No , Rotem , you have no right to touch anything in that final sacred resting place .
    Ps my daughter and sister in law are working artists .

  4. Rebecca Taube-Schnitzer says:

    I lost about 1000 family members at this horrific place as did many others lose family here or they were totally exterminated. The entire site to me is a grave as it is completely covered in the final remains of all who perished there. A Polish Prison is perfect for her, they hate us, and she will certainly quickly learn that and I hopes she dies in prison in Poland as she is nothing more that a grave robber and a thief who thinks of no one but herself. There is an Israeli Consulate in my city, I will be calling on Monday and if I need to make an appearance with my Rabbi, so be it as she is a selfish little bitch

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