Poland has launched an investigation into a Swedish artist’s claim that he used the ashes of Holocaust victims to create a painting. If proved true, the act may land the artist in prison for several years.
Polish prosecutors started the legal action following the artist’s recent post on a Swedish gallery’s website in which he describes his scandalous creation, Associated Press reports.
The man claims that he got hold of the ashes during his visit of the former Nazi death camp in Majdanek, Poland in 1989. Carl Michael von Hausswolff wrote that he waited a long time before he actually used the ash in his small painting titled “Memory Works”.
Beata Syk-Jankowska said Tuesday that prosecutors in the eastern city of Lublin are eager to find out whether the artist is telling the truth or is just trying to gain publicity.
It will likely prove very hard to determine whether the Holocaust victims’ ashes were really used in the artwork. If so, it would most likely cause outrage among Holocaust survivors and those who preserve the memory of the Nazi death camps victims, including thousands of Poles.
What is now a memorial museum complex, was one of the horrifying Nazi death camps, that held around 150,000 people between 1941 and 1944. About 80,000 of people, most of whom Jews, died there.
Back in 1989 some ashes were still there at the camp’s crematorium area. Removing some of it would be a crime, however there was no security at the site to register the act, a spokeswoman for the museum, told The Associated Press.
If von Hausswolff’s claim proves to be true, he may face charges of desecrating human ashes and their resting place and face up to eight years in prison according to Polish law.