Sign up now to receive our regular news briefs.

Thailand University Apologies for Hitler ‘Superhero’ Billboard After Wiesenthal Center Critique

July 15, 2013 11:14 am 0 comments

Offensive Thai student billboard, Hitler salute being emulated by a recent graduate. Photo: Simon Weisenthal Center.

Offensive Thai student billboard, Hitler salute being emulated by a recent graduate. Photo: Simon Weisenthal Center.

Administrators at Thailand’s leading university have apologized for a student mural that showed Adolf Hitler alongside Superman and other superheroes, after The Simon Wiesenthal Center criticized the art work, the Guardian reported, citing the university and the anti-Semitism watchdog.

The huge billboard was mounted outside the art faculty of Chulalongkorn University, as part of a tribute to this year’s graduates. Under “Congratulations,” written in bold white letters, the billboard showed Hitler with his arm raised in a Nazi salute next to Batman, Captain America, the Incredible Hulk and Iron Man.

The mural was up for two days before being removed on Saturday in response to criticism from The Simon Wiesenthal Center on Friday. Online photographs (see above) showed graduating students in their robes, mimicking Hitler’s raised-arm salute.

The artistic vision behind the picture was to show that good and bad people co-exist in the world, art school dean Suppakorn Disatapundhu said after summoning the students for an explanation. “They told me the concept was to paint a picture of superheroes who protect the world,” the dean said in a telephone interview. “Hitler was supposed to serve as a conceptual paradox to the superheroes,” he said, noting that the superheroes were painted in vivid colors while Hitler’s image was in grey. “This kind of thoughtless display will not happen again.”

Suppakorn said new art students had painted the banner as part of a traditional send-off from incoming students to the graduating class, and it was one of dozens of banners and billboards across the campus during the university’s commencement period.

The Simon Wiesenthal Center, an international Jewish human rights group, had criticized the banner before its removal.

“Hitler as a superhero? Is he an appropriate role model for Thailand’s younger generation – a genocidal hatemonger who mass-murdered Jews and Gypsies and who considered people of color as racially inferior?” asked Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean at the center, in a statement on Friday.

“The Simon Wiesenthal Center is outraged and disgusted by this public display at Thailand’s leading school of higher education. This mural has been on display for days nearby the University’s Faculty of History building. We are outraged by those who created this travesty, at the young person posing using the Nazi ‘Seig Heil’ salute and appalled and disgusted by the total silence of the University’s elite for the apparent failure of anyone demanding its removal,” Rabbi Cooper said.

Last winter, Rabbi Cooper brought the Wiesenthal Center’s “Courage To Remember” Holocaust exhibit, translated into Thai, to Bangkok’s UN Hall where he joined 500 community activists, students and diplomats to stand and remember 6 million Jewish men, women and children murdered by Hitler’s Nazi Third Reich. “Perhaps it’s time that the University arranges for its faculty and students to view it as part of an anti-genocide curriculum,” Rabbi Cooper concluded.

Leave a Reply

Please note: comments may be published in the Algemeiner print edition. Comments written in all caps will be deleted.


Current day month ye@r *

More...

  • Arts and Culture First English-Language Trailer Debuts for Natalie Portman’s Hebrew Film ‘A Tale of Love and Darkness,’ Based on Amos Oz’s Memoir (VIDEO)

    First English-Language Trailer Debuts for Natalie Portman’s Hebrew Film ‘A Tale of Love and Darkness,’ Based on Amos Oz’s Memoir (VIDEO)

    The first English-language trailer for Natalie Portman’s directorial debut — A Tale of Love and Darkness — based on Israeli author Amos Oz’s memoir, was released on Thursday. The movie, originally filmed in Hebrew, tells the story of Oz’s childhood in Jerusalem at the end of the British Mandate and the early years of Israel’s independence. Portman, who was born in Israel and speaks fluent Hebrew, plays the lead role of Fania, the author’s mother. She struggles to raise her son as she deals with inner demons, a […]

    Read more →
  • Features As Berlin Prices Rise, Israelis Turn East for German Real-Estate Bargains

    As Berlin Prices Rise, Israelis Turn East for German Real-Estate Bargains

    JNS.org – Sonnenallee, a street in Berlin’s Neukölln district, looks like it comes straight out of an Arab city — so much so that it goes by the nickname “Gaza Strip.” Kebab and bakery shops are advertised in Arabic; men sit in men-only coffee shops; and bridal shop windows showcase glittery, not-so-stylish gowns. But take a random turn, and you’ll find a swath of bars, burger joints, and Indian restaurants where hip Berliners announce that they have arrived to urban coolness. […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Israeli Actress Gal Gadot Slays in ‘Wonder Woman’ Trailer (VIDEO)

    Israeli Actress Gal Gadot Slays in ‘Wonder Woman’ Trailer (VIDEO)

    Israeli actress Gal Gadot engages in fierce action sequences in the new Wonder Woman trailer, which Warner Bros. premiered during the San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday. The nearly 3-minute trailer, the first to debut for the superhero film, shows scenes of Diana, princess of the Amazons, fighting alongside men in the battle against the world’s toughest enemies. The first shot of the video shows Wonder Woman discovering a man, Steve Trevor (played by actor Chris Pine), washed ashore. The clip then takes viewers to the all-female island where Wonder Woman was born. […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture A Theatrical Look at Diplomacy and the Oslo Accords (REVIEW)

    A Theatrical Look at Diplomacy and the Oslo Accords (REVIEW)

    Is diplomacy worthwhile, even if the end result isn’t what we hoped for? That is the question, among many others, posed by the new play Oslo, by J.T. Rogers. Making its New York debut at Lincoln Center, the play examines the secret diplomatic process that led to the historic 1993 peace accords. The character of Shimon Peres makes an appearance onstage — and he, along with Yitzhak Rabin and Yasser Arafat, tower over the proceedings. But they mainly do so in absentia. Instead, […]

    Read more →
  • Spirituality/Tradition Sports Israeli Trailblazer Dean Kremer Brings Jewish Values to Nascent Pro Baseball Career

    Israeli Trailblazer Dean Kremer Brings Jewish Values to Nascent Pro Baseball Career

    JNS.org – Other than being part of the Los Angeles Dodgers organization, Sandy Koufax and Dean Kremer have something else in common: a respect for Jewish tradition. Koufax — who was recently ranked by ESPN as the best left-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball (MLB) history — decided not to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series because the game fell on Yom Kippur. “I would do the same,” Kremer said in an interview. Last month, the 20-year-old Kremer became […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Lead Guitarist of British Rock Band Queen Asks Adam Lambert to Sing in Hebrew During Upcoming Israel Concert

    Lead Guitarist of British Rock Band Queen Asks Adam Lambert to Sing in Hebrew During Upcoming Israel Concert

    The famed lead guitarist of British rock band Queen, Brian May, encouraged Jewish singer-songwriter Adam Lambert to perform in Hebrew during their upcoming joint concert in Israel, an entertainment industry advocacy organization reported on Tuesday. During a recent interview with Israeli television personality Assi Azar, May was played a 2005 video of Lambert singing the popular song Shir L’Shalom, (Song for Peace). May was so impressed by Lambert’s singing of the Hebrew track that he told the American singer, “We have to do that. Let’s […]

    Read more →
  • Sports Kenyan Marathoner to Compete for Israel in Rio Olympics

    Kenyan Marathoner to Compete for Israel in Rio Olympics

    JNS.org – Kenyan-born marathoner Lonah Chemtai is expected to compete for Israel at the Olympics Games in Rio De Janeiro, Brazil next month after gaining a last minute approval. “I am very proud [to represent Israel] and I hope to achieve a new personal best time,” Chemtai told Reuters. Chemtai, who grew up a rural village in western Kenya, first came to Israel in 2009 to care of the children of her country’s ambassador to Israel. The 27-year-old runner recently gained […]

    Read more →
  • Arts and Culture Jewish Identity Will Laughs Lead to Love on Show About Orthodox Dating?

    Will Laughs Lead to Love on Show About Orthodox Dating?

    To date or not to date? That is not the question for most Modern Orthodox singles in New York. The question is when will they find their future spouses, and when will their families stop nagging them about having babies? Inspired by the success of the Israeli show “Srugim,” Leah Gottfried, 25, decided she would create and star in her own show, “Soon By You.” “Dating is so serious already,” Gottfried said. “We wanted to take a lighter approach and laugh at the […]

    Read more →