Israeli Student Stole Items From Auschwitz for College Art Project

Museum demands the art student return the small objects she pilfered.

July 20, 2017 5:00 am

As horrific a place as Auschwitz was, you’d suspect that visitors to its current-day grounds and museum would have a greater respect for—and sensitivity—to its place in history.

But in recent years, the site of one of the most notorious World War II concentration camps has been the focus of some highly questionable acts of selfishness that truly undermine what Auschwitz is and what it symbolizes.

The most recent example may be the most egregious of all. According to Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, 27-year-old Israeli art student Rotem Bides, who is the granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, has admitted to stealing a number of items from Auschwitz for a final project at her college. The student visited the site six times, even lifting a sign that warned visitors not to steal from the historic grounds.

The student pilfered a number of additional items, including pieces of glass, spoons (one of which she lost), dirt, small bowls, and a metal screw—all to display as part of her final project. Her college has since taken down the display.

The student has been summoned for a disciplinary hearing, but the museum has gone a step further, filing an official criminal complaint against her.

Bides remains remorseless, though. “I felt it was something I had to do,” she told the newspaper. “I’m concerned that after all the survivors are gone, the Holocaust will turn into a myth, something that cannot be perceived.” Hence, the reason for her art project.

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