The Yad Vashem Holocaust Memorial here has rejected a request by a group of fervently Orthodox Jews to remove photographs showing victims of the Holocaust going to their deaths naked.
Avner Shalev, the administrative chairman of Yad Vashem, said the institution had a duty to portray history as it happened.
“The pictures show how millions of Holocaust victims were taken to their deaths,” Shalev said. “We have no reason or authority to cover the terrible truth or make it more attractive. We have to present it the way it was.”
He said he dismissed a threat from a Jerusalem municipality official, Chaim Miller, who called for a boycott of Yad Vashem.
Miller, who heads the Association for Rights of the Haredi Public, a group representing the fervently Orthodox, said the after “a letter is sent forbidding visits to Yad Vashem, I believe it will reconsider its irresponsible decision.”
According to Miller, “Halachah (or Jewish religious law) forbids displays of nakedness. It is a humiliation and insult to Yad Vashem to show people who died [this way]. The Holocaust does not need nudity to make it more shocking.”
He added that those who refuse to consider the request of his group are turning the issue into a debate between religious and secular Jews.