Is building a 400 square metre replica of the Warsaw Ghetto out of 50,000 Lego bricks ‘offensive’?
It had a wall around it. Built with bricks. The ghetto was made up of interconnecting parts. Get it? Er...well, not really. But offensive? Dan Sieradski certainly thinks so at the blog Jewschool.com.
“When I think about the senseless slaughter of 10,000,000 innocent Jews, Roma, queers, political dissidents and other undesirables, I think Lego …[sarcasm] …It makes me ill to see people trivializing the Shoah in the name of commemorating it.”
The model made of children’s building bricks was part of a history workshop on November 5 at the Alex Aidekman campus of the United Jewish Communities of MetroWest, New Jersey, US.
Lego bricks have been involved in Shoah controversies before. In 2002, Polish-born artist Zbigniew Libera’s Lego Concentration Camp Set (pictured above) a collection of seven empty boxes bearing pictures of death camps fashioned out of kiddie’s construction materials caused a small outrage. Menachem Rosensaft, founding chairman of the International Network of Children of Jewish Holocaust Survivors, said that the show was “in excremental taste” and that “there can be no excuse, aesthetic or otherwise, for the crude desecration of the Holocaust inherent in the display.”
Dan at Jewshcool.com thinks that at least the Libera piece had some artistic merit – kind of - the new Warsaw Ghetto construction, he says, does not:
'Say what you will about Zbigniew Libera’s LEGO concentration camp... It at least is presented in a context which gives way to discussion, whether on the position of the Holocaust in popular culture, the marketing of violence to youth, or even the participation of mainstream German corporations (the proprietors of popular household brand names) in the Shoah. It’s supposed to be controversial.
Six year-olds reconstructing the Warsaw Ghetto with LEGO as an educational activity? That’s senseless and tasteless.'
But is Dan just being silly? Lego is a material kids relate too (and education must be ‘accessible’ nowadays, remember); any education about the Warsaw Ghetto is welcome; surly the material the exhibition is made out of is …well, immaterial? And why has left-liberal ‘identity politics’ made some people so hypersensitive to being ‘offended?
What were they thinking?, New Jersey Jewish Standard, Nov 10
And if the need for education about this subject is still in doubt then see Muslim leader sent funds to Irving, Guardian, November 18. But do young Muslims play with Lego? Perhaps they should…