Turkish ‘Great Escape’ Organizer Apologizes for Holocaust-Themed Challenge
The organizer of an interactive ‘Great Escape’ game in Turkey apologized on Tuesday for framing the challenge around a Holocaust theme, which outraged members of the Turkish Jewish community.
The organizer, who withheld his name, told The Algemeiner he did not realize his “terrible mistake” when he framed the escape-the-room challenge around Jewish prisoners of World War II.
But the offensive nature of his game — in which participants in the northwestern Turkish city of Bursa had to solve a series of riddles in order to escape SS guards and being “turned into soap” — came to his attention after the Turkish Salom newspaper reported on a picture he posted following a test-run of five participants.
The picture featured three challengers smiling and posing in the uniform of Jewish concentration camp prisoners.
The organizer said the picture spawned verbal attacks against him, adding that he had suffered “blasphemy.”
“I couldn’t understand what was happening,” he said.
“Then I saw the picture and realized my terrible mistake. Immediately, I erased everything and the photo [and] closed my game, which never started,” he said. “Everybody called me a fascist. I had never thought like that in my life.”
The Great Escape group posted an apology to its website and Facebook page, where several users lambasted the group for considering the Holocaust theme.
“I immediately apologized to all Jewish people and other people who don’t understand my mistake and were saddened by my mistake,” said the organizer, adding that he was already working to change the theme.
Meanwhile, the president of Turkey’s Jewish community, Ishak Ibrahimzadeh, accepted the organizers’ apology and commended them for immediately revising the theme.
“We hope their exemplary behavior will set an example for others,” tweeted Ibrahimzadeh.