Game shame

Some members of the Jewish community are calling for the social deduction game, Secret Hitler, to be banned. Photo: m anima

AUSTRALIAN games retailers are being urged to follow the example of Games World in Chadstone, which has ceased selling the game Secret Hitler following complaints filed to the Anti-Defamation Commission (ADC).

Among the complainants were numerous descendants of Holocaust survivors who were left “horrified” at the discovery of the board game which is allegedly available for purchase at various retailers including Australian Geographic, Amazon Australia, Ebay, Mind Games Melbourne and Gameology.

Secret Hitler is set in 1932, pre-World War II Germany. The rising tide of fascism threatens a fragile liberal government and players are assigned one of three roles: liberal, fascist or Hitler.

“What’s next? A board game set in the gas chambers and ovens of Auschwitz?” charged ADC chairman, Dvir Abramovich.

“There is nothing funny, entertaining, laughable or enjoyable about Hitler.

“A brutal, evil monster, responsible for the extermination of six million Jews and millions of others, should not be the title or the subject of a party board game.”

Abramovich implored all businesses to show “moral responsibility to never allow themselves to become partners in the cheapening and trivialisation of the Holocaust” and to “pull the game off the shelves immediately”.

A Jewish woman in Bright first discovered the Secret Hitler game in her local toy store. She said that she “started shaking” when she saw someone pick up the game.

Simone, a grandchild of a Holocaust survivor, was similarly shocked.
“I was absolutely horrified to the see the atrocities of Hitler and his regime played out in a game .It made me feel nauseous.”.

In a surprising twist, Secret Hitler co-creator Max Temkin is Jewish – and members of his family were survivors.

Contacted by The AJN, he said, “I’m Jewish, I made the game, it’s not antisemitic, people can take from it what they will.”

REBECCA DAVIS