A sculpture of a praying Adolf Hitler, titled HIM, has caused controversy since its installation in Warsaw's Centre for Contemporary Art, sited in the former Warsaw Ghetto where so many Jews lost their lives under Nazi oppression.
HIM is a statue of Adolf Hitler on his knees praying, sculpted by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan in 2001. Although the statue has been displayed all over the world, its' inclusion in a retrospective display of Cattelan's work titled "Amen" in Warsaw, has been criticized.
The Telegraph reported the exhibition is displayed in Ujazdowski Castle, but the controversial statue is outside in a gated court-way, visible only from the back.
When HIM was displayed at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, the exhibitors described the statue as providing "opportunity for reflection — on the Holocaust, on one individual’s power to create evil in recent history, and on the personal and societal responses to past, present, and future atrocities."
The Simon Wiesenthal Centre has however criticized the statue being displayed in the former Warsaw Ghetto. Efraim Zuroff from the Israeli branch said the placing of the statue was: "A senseless provocation which insults the memory of the Nazis' Jewish victims. As far as the Jews were concerned, Hitler's only 'prayer' was that they be wiped off the face of the earth."
Michael Schudrich, Poland's Chief Rabbi, said he was consulted before the statue was included in the display of Cattelan's work. He did not oppose it, saying he "saw value in the artist's attempt to try to raise moral questions by provoking viewers."
Fabio Cavallucci, director of Warsaw's Center for Contemporary Art defended the statue's inclusion. He said: "There is no intention from the side of the artist or the center to insult Jewish memory. It's an artwork that tries to speak about the situation of hidden evil everywhere."