The Auschwitz Memorial has objected to a scene in a new TV series that shows a murderous game of human chess being played, insisting that no such thing took place at the camp.
The museum that guards the Auschwitz site, its historic facts and the memory of the victims tweeted about the scene in Amazon’s series Hunters.
It said inventing fake scenes is “dangerous foolishness and caricature”.
Museum spokesman Pawel Sawicki said on Monday that authors and artists have a special obligation to tell the truth about Auschwitz, and that the Hunters authors did not contact the museum for facts.
Hunters is about a post-war hunt in New York for Nazi war criminals. It includes a scene where inmates are figures in a chess game and are killed when they are taken off the chessboard.
“This is false. There was no such thing,” Mr Sawicki said.
“If anyone wants to show human tragedy in Auschwitz, it is enough to reach for the thousands of sources (survivors’ testimonies) that are deeply shocking, but creating fiction that distorts the history of this real place is disrespectful of the people who suffered here,” Mr Sawicki told The Associated Press.
The series’ creator David Weil stressed in a statement it was not a documentary but a narrative with largely fictional characters.
As a grandson of Holocaust survivors, Weil said he was careful not to “misrepresent a real person or borrow from a specific moment in an actual person’s life”.
In his statement, he thanked the Auschwitz Memorial for “keeping the memory of victims and survivors like my grandmother, Sara Weil, alive,” and expressed hope for a further dialogue to that purpose.
Karen Pollock, chief executive of the Holocaust Educational Trust, said on Tuesday: “Why have they chosen to portray such a grotesque, disturbing and above all inaccurate scene at Auschwitz, the place of systematic mass slaughter where over 1 million were murdered.
“Wasn’t it horrific enough?
“By straying so far from the truth, it allows for Holocaust distortion and falsehoods to spread while undermining the very people who suffered there. At a time when our eyewitnesses are fewer and frailer we need to defend the truth of the past and not sensationalise in the interest of art.“
Karen Pollock MBE, Chief Executive, Holocaust Educational Trust