Activist group in Germany apologizes for using Holocaust victims’ ashes in protest installation


(JTA) — A German activist group has apologized for using what it says is the ashes of victims of the Nazis for a protest against the far right.

The art-activist collective Zentrum für Politische Schönheit, or Center for Political Beauty, earlier this week placed a large container of soil samples from areas where Nazis were active in the mass murder of Jews near the Germany parliament.

“We would like to apologize to all those affected, relatives and survivors, whose feelings we have hurt,” the group said in a statement on its website.

We have “made mistakes,” the statement said.

“We would like to apologize, especially to Jewish institutions, societies or individuals who believe that our work disturbed the peace required for the dead under Jewish law,” the statement added.

The group said it spent two years digging up soil from 23 sites in Germany, Poland and Ukraine, including at the Auschwitz, Sobibor and Treblinka camps. Lab results found traces of human remains in over 70 percent of the 240 samples, the group said in a statement. The protest was intended to show that “the legacy of the Holocaust is rendered void by political apathy, the rejection of refugees and cowardice,” the group said.

The group has not said what it plans to do with the soil samples, but said it was open to suggestions.

The president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Josef Schuster, told the German news service Deutsche Welle that a rabbi should be consulted on how to dispose of the remains.

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