Berlin police stop removal of urn that angered Jewish groups

January 05, 2020 - 10:26 am

BERLIN (AP) — Activists said Sunday that Berlin police prevented them from dismantling an art installation that angered Jewish groups after those who erected it claimed it contained Holocaust victims' remains.

A group calling itself Performance Art Committee said about 20 of its members attempted to cut down a pillar holding an urn that was placed in front of the German parliament by the left-wing Center for Political Beauty last month.

Berlin police spokesman Martin Halweg confirmed to The Associated Press that a member of the Center for Political Beauty had submitted a criminal complaint for property damage to police.

Officers at the scene recorded the identities of four people and then ordered then ordered to leave the site, which they did, he said.

The pillar remains stable, Halweg added.

The International Auschwitz Committee condemned the installation last month.

Auschwitz survivors were “aghast at this installation, which hurts their feelings and the eternal peace of the dead of their murdered relatives,” the committee said.

The Center for Political Beauty, which is known for its provocative stunts, said the urn contained remains it had unearthed at 23 locations near Nazi death and concentration camps in Germany, Poland and Ukraine.

The group later issued a partial apology for hurting the feelings of Holocaust survivors and victims' families, but defended the purpose of the stunt, which it said was to highlight the ongoing need to examine Germany's Nazi past.

Authorities ordered the pillar removed last month, but the Center for Political Beauty appealed the decision.

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