Statue of praying Hitler sparks controversy

A statue by Italian artist Maurizio Cattelan that shows Adolf Hitler praying on his knees sparked heated debates, mostly because of its location in the Warsaw Ghetto, a place where many Jews were killed by the Nazi regime.

Organizers say that the statue is intended to make people reflect on the nature of evil, while many groups consider the statue’s placement an insult.

Others are seeing the artwork not as a provocation or denial of the Holocaust, but more as a way of delivering a strong emotional message. The work can only be seen through hole in a wooden gate; thus only the back of a small figure praying in the courtyard is visible.

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6 thoughts on “Statue of praying Hitler sparks controversy

  1. I can certainly understand the controversy and divided feelings on this exhibit, but if there’s a statement to be made I think that if Hitler prayed at all, he prayed for the success of his regime. War is divisive and each side believes God is with them. But from all accounts it would seem he felt he was a god in his own right.

  2. It reminds me of the scene in Hamlet when Claudius tries to pray for forgiveness but can’t because he loves the product of his sin. Maybe even the most evil among us feel a certain innate revulsion against their evil nature, but they are too weak to fight against it.

  3. Cattelan is noted for his provoking thought with his work. One has to try and go beyond one’s immediate emotional reactions in order to try to get into what he’s saying. I think, that that particular presence in the Warsaw Ghetto should serve as a reminder that the evil of absolute power as represented by Hitler in our civilized Europe, is always present, even if we’d prefer to censor it and try to forget it. In a sense Hitler and was the Warsaw Ghetto. Having him pray for all to see in a monument dedicated to his victims, should remind us that everyone must become aware of the responsability of the things they’ve done. In an age where horrors continue to be perpetrated upon innocents the world over, we must never forget what we are capable of doing in the name of power and belief.

    • This is a very interesting interpretation of the work.

      Art should provoke both an emotional and an intellectual response. I agree, it ought to remind us of what we have been, and what we can be – for better or worse.

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