Israeli Art Student Stole Items From Auschwitz For Project

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Rotem Bides, an Israeli art student, is in hot water after stealing artifacts from Auschwitz for her final project back in Israel.

The Israeli grandchild of Holocaust survivors has admitted to stealing items from Auschwitz for her final art project in Jerusalem, Yedioth Ahronoth reported.

Rotem Bides, 27, had visited the Nazi death camp in Poland several times and collected pieces of glass, bowls, a metal screw, soil, and even a sign that tells people not to steal anything.

The Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum is slated to file an official complaint against Bides, and called the theft "painful and outrageous." Her school, the Beit Berl College, has removed her exhibition and will summon Bides in for a disciplinary hearing. 

Bides stands by what she did and told Yedioth Ahronoth that she always felt her "raw material was in Poland, not in Israel." According to Bides, one of her grandfathers survived Auschwitz, and the other grandfather had served in the Red Army. Her two grandmothers escaped from the Holocaust as well.

"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 said about breaking the law, and referenced the laws from back then that put millions of people in concentration camps.

"I'm concerned that after all the survivors are gone, the Holocaust will turn into a myth, something that cannot be perceived," she said. 

Her exhibit was meant to shock audiences, and it included her own blood. Among the Auschwitz items were some personal items from Bides, and a rabbit leg and rabbit skin.

Auschwitz Concentration Camp

"Art will always strive to be in no man's land," Dr. Gabriel Klasmer, the dean of Bides' school, said to Yedioth Ahronoth. "On the one hand, Rotem's work violates legal and moral principles, and on the other hand, it brings the Holocaust from the Jewish ethos to the personal level."

According to Klasmer, the school is letting the authorities make the final verdict if the items are truly stolen from Auschwitz. 

This isn't the first time artifacts from the death camp, which executed about 1.5 million people, were taken. In 2011, Moti Posloshani and his wife, who were were also related to Holocaust survivors, took cutlery and scissors and tried to smuggle them into Israel. 

Banner image credit: Wikimedia Commons user Morneomorneo

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