Granddaughter of Holocaust Survivors Lifts Auschwitz Items
For a college art project
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 19, 2017 2:48 PM CDT
Updated Jul 22, 2017 10:46 AM CDT
This Oct. 19, 2012, file photo shows the main gate at the former Nazi death camp of Auschwitz in Oswiecim, Poland.   (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski, File)

(Newser) – People shouldn't need signage telling them not to take what they want out of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum, but the Polish museum has them up anyway, the Guardian notes. Yet even those signs didn't stop an Israeli college student, whose own grandparents were Holocaust survivors, from lifting what she needed for an art project, per the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper. Rotem Bides, 27, a student at Beit Berl College, says she visited the ex-death camp a half-dozen times and pocketed pieces of glass, dirt, tiny bowls, and even one of those "do not take" signs while there. She admits she used these items, as well as a tube of her own blood, in her graduation exhibit—one that's since been taken down by college faculty.

She says she did so because she fears that as we lose the last remaining Holocaust survivors, we could also lose the truth of what occurred. In breaking the law, she says, "the statement I'm making here is that laws are determined by humans, and that morality is something that changes from time to time and from culture to culture," she says. Bides' academic supervisor uses similar loquacity to defend her actions, suggesting her appropriation of the items is "neither devious nor manipulative" and "[creates] a unique encounter between art and an event that has passed." The Auschwitz museum isn't impressed by such verbiage, noting it plans to press charges over the "painful" incident and wants Israel to make sure Bides gives the materials back. (A Louisiana congressman made a video at Auschwitz.)

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