BERLIN (JTA) — A German cabaret artist has raised the hackles of Jewish leaders with a routine comparing welfare recipients to concentration camp prisoners.
Michael Lerchenberg crossed the line into the unacceptable, said Charlotte Knobloch, president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, in a statement released Thursday.
Lerchenberg, invited to perform at an annual political lampoon fest that draws Germany’s top politicians to Munich Nockherberg, said that welfare recipients should be assembled in an economically depressed area in former East Germany "with a large fence around them," according to reports.
A sign at the gate would read "Work Must Be Worthwhile Again," said the performer, an obvious play on the cynical "Arbeit Macht Frei" ("Work Will Free You") sign that hung over the gate to the Auschwitz death camp.
In her statement, Knobloch said that "jokes that make light of or even ridicule the suffering of victims in concentration camps are shameful, in an otherwise successful event."