Magazine defends Holocaust cover

The front cover of The Spectator Australia’s January 7, 2017 edition.

THE editor of The Spectator Australia, Rowan Dean, has defended the magazine’s decision to publish on its cover an illustration of a death camp prisoner with a tattoo on their arm after it was described this week as “disturbing” and “deeply insulting”.

The drawing portrays a concentration camp inmate dressed in a striped uniform with the number 2334 stamped on their arm, representing the recent UN Security Council resolution against Israel. The words “Obama’s legacy” accompany the illustration.

In its editorial “The evil of 2334”, the magazine writes, “As our cover illustration makes clear, we believe 2334 deserves to live in infamy alongside other so-called ‘legal’ attempts to eradicate Jews.”

Speaking to The AJN this week, Dean defended the use of the illustration.

“I believe the use of Holocaust imagery is only ever justified if it is done to prevent future Holocaust images,” he said.

Holocaust survivor Olga Horak said it is “confronting” to see Holocaust imagery applied in this way.

Horak, who survived five camps and a death march to Bergen-Belsen, where she was liberated, told The AJN, “I think people are unaware how these images and the memories affect us still. The Holocaust stands on its own and should not be compared to any situation.”

CEO of the Sydney Jewish Museum Norman Seligman noted that it has become “increasingly common” for Holocaust iconography to be utilised in modern political debate.

“Whether well meaning or purposefully disrespectful, it is our belief that such analogies trivialise the memory of the murdered millions and degrade the level of contemporary debate,” Seligman said.

Dvir Abramovich, chairman of the B’nai B’rith Anti-Defamation Commission, said while people are entitled to denounce the US abstention on UNSC resolution 2334 and the Iran deal, “it is simply wrong and unfair to compare President Obama to Neville Chamberlain or to suggest that his decisions will lead to a second Holocaust”.

He said employing this “disturbing drawing” is “deeply insulting to the memory of the millions who perished at the hands of the Nazis, causes pain to those who survived and to those who fought valiantly to defeat Hitler’s evil regime”.

Abramovich added that during the month in which we commemorate International Holocaust Remembrance Day, “we urge all commentators and publications to act responsibly and to resist the temptation to use such hurtful and insensitive imagery in the future”.