Despite outrage from many in the Jewish community, a Swedish gallery owner told Sverige Radio that he “sees no moral problem or flaw with exhibiting” a painting by the artist Carl Michael von Hausswolff made from ashes of Holocaust victims from the Majdanek extermination camp.
“Please come to the gallery, see the painting and judge for yourselves whether it’s controversial,” Martin Bryder also told the Polish News Agency.
Von Hausswolff collected the ashes over twenty years ago on a visit to the camp. He mixed the ashes with water to compose a small painting of gray streaks that now hangs in the gallery in Lund.
Salomon Schulman, a leading voice in Sweden’s Jewish community who lost many relatives to the Holocaust, wrote in a local newspaper that the painting is “revolting”.
“Who knows,” he wrote, “maybe some of the ashes originated from my relatives. No one knows where they were deported: all my mother’s siblings and their children, and my grandparents.”
“I will never go to this gallery and view it as the desecration of Jewish bodies,” he added. “I am sickened by his work and obsession with necrophilia.”