Posted Friday, September 13, 2002

Quick navigation

Alphabetical index (text)   Index to the Traditional Enemies of Free Speech

Rotterdam's leading official for culture, alderman Stefan Hulman, was upset when he heard about the exhibit.


Jerusalem Post

Thursday, September 5, 2002


Hitler statue shakes up Dutch art scene


Rotterdam -- A lifelike statue of Adolf Hitler kneeling in prayer opened a wave of criticism in the Netherlands Thursday, a day before the Italian piece goes on exhibit in a city once destroyed by Nazi bombs.

David Irving comments:

TWO things spring to mind, upon reading this piece.
   According to a record in Moscow archives, the Polish ambassador Josef Lipski said to Hitler, meeting him in September 1938, "If you succeed in solving the Jewish Problem, we will erect a statue to you in Warsaw" (see Hitler's War).
   As for the "flattening" of Rotterdam: it was the target of an unfortunate Luftwaffe raid on May 14, 1940, which was fully investigated on the basis of Luftwaffe records by Dr Hans Adolf Jacobsen in the Wehrwissenschafltiche Rundschau the 1950s. In short, the raid was sent in to destroy an artillery position in the city: the Dutch offered surrender terms, and a recall signal was sent to the bomber squadrons, which failed however to reach one Staffel of Heinkel 111s. The damage was not severe by modern standards, but a blaze in a margerine factory led to a conflagration in which about 900 died, as the city authorities confirmed to me (Churchill wrote: "Thirty thousand").
   The real damage to the port city was done by the subsequent Allied air raids, particularly in 1944.

The sculpture "Him" by Maurizio Cattelan will go on display at the Boijmans van Beuningen museum in Rotterdam on Friday and can be viewed by the public until Nov. 3.

Rotterdam's leading official for culture, alderman Stefan Hulman, was upset when he heard about the exhibit and phoned the director of the museum to complain, said city spokeswoman Josien Gorkink.

"He finds it tasteless to confront people with their war past in a city like Rotterdam where it could be upsetting to some people," Gorkink said. Rotterdam was flattened by German bombing during World War II and had to be rebuilt.

It won't be the first time Cattelan's work has shocked the public.

The "La Nona Ora" ("The Ninth Hour"), a sculpture of Pope John Paul II crumpled under a black meteorite, was harshly debated before being sold at Christie's last year for $886,000.

The Hitler piece stands just a meter (three feet) high and is made of polyester, resin and finished with wax.

In a strikingly realistic portrayal, the Nazi leader is seen with his hands clasped at his waist looking up. The statue stands alone in a vast gallery hall.

The museum said the statue fits into the Italian Grotesque art genre and that Cattelan intended to bring the viewer face-to-face with "the personification of evil."

"By confronting this loaded theme with irony, the historic and ethical importance of this extremely dark period of our existence becomes clearer," the museum said in a statement. "It is particularly important to display this type of work now in a time of fear." The piece, crafted in 2000, was previously exhibited in Sweden and Italy.


Related items on this website:

  Hitler index
The above news item is reproduced without editing other than typographical
 Register your name and address to go on the Mailing List to receive

David Irving's ACTION REPORT

© Focal Point 2002 F Irving write to David Irving