Nazi-Hunting Series Goes Overboard


Al Pacino’s atrocious Yiddish accent is one thing. The laying-it-on-thick name of Pacino’s character, Meyer Offerman (with “Godfather”-like echoes of “I’m gonna make himan offer he can’t refuse”) is another.

But an invented-out-of-whole cloth game of human chess, in which inmates of the Auschwitz camp were the game pieces and were killed when their piece was removed, was too much for the Poland-based Auschwitz Memorial.

In a tweet, the museum said the grisly game invented for “Hunters,” an Amazon miniseries about an outfit of revenge-takers tracking down Nazis in America in 1977, is, “Dangerous foolishness & caricature.”

“Auschwitz was full of horrible pain and suffering documented in the accounts of survivors,” the museum tweeted. “Inventing a fake game of human chess for ‘Hunters’ is not only dangerous foolishness & caricature. It also welcomes future deniers. We honor the victims by preserving factual accuracy.” The show premiered last Friday.

The creator of the series, David Weil, refuted the allegations, telling Deadline that a few years ago he visited Auschwitz and saw the gate through which his grandmother was forced to pass and the barracks where she lived. Defending the chess scene, Weil emphasized that it is meant to “most powerfully counteract the revisionist narrative that whitewashes Nazi perpetration by showcasing the most extreme – and representationally truthful – sadism and violence that the Nazis perpetrated against the Jews and other victims.” He added that the show is “inspired by true events,” but is not a documentary.

“I am forever grateful to the Auschwitz Memorial for all of the important and vital work that they do, for keeping the memory of victims and survivors like my grandmother, Sara Weil, alive,” Weil told Deadline. “I believe we are very much on the same side and working toward the same goals. And I hope we can continue a dialogue on how to achieve those goals.”

JTA and Jewish Week Staff