German Art Exhibit Equates Swastika with Star of David

A Star of David is visible among the ornamentation at the Brodyer Synagogue at the ordination of new Rabbis Shlomo Afanasev and Moshe Baumel on August 30, 2010 in Leipzig, Germany.
Sean Gallup/Getty

The Jerusalem Post reports: The display of a start of David set side-by-side with a swastika at an October art fair in the city of Cologne prompted sharp criticism last week.

“To compare Israel with Nazism is clearly antisemitic. It is illegal to display the swastika in Germany, but not in an artistic context. This exhibit abuses that exception in order to blatantly traduce Israel,” Jonathan Hoffman, a London-based campaigner against antisemitism who complained about the exhibit, told The Jerusalem Post on Friday.

The artist, Juraj Kralik, responded to the criticism of his project, saying, “Le Quattro Stagione – Stolen Geometry I installation, which juxtaposes the symbols of David’s Star and the Nazi swastika, presented at Art Cologne last month, is part of this series of works. This canvas, as is the case with the rest of the series, does not aspire to comment on an individual/isolated ideology, religion or faith.”

He added, “It does, however, aspire to be this artist’s memento of their clash, resulting in 60 million casualties, be it on the battlefield, in the concentration camp, while escaping the war zone or perhaps hiding in one’s own cellar. My emotions were the strongest while creating this piece, and I recall my hands shaking on many occasions thinking of the suffering and atrocities caused.”

Gerd Buurmann, a theater director who has written extensively on antisemitism and visited the exhibit in Cologne, wrote on his blog Tapfer im Nirgendwo, “My reply is: no, no, no! The Jewish Star of David and the Nazi swastika don’t merely symbolize ideologies. The one ideology isn’t comparable to the other. Judaism is not Nazism. Israel is not Nazi Germany.”

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