Fury over artist who claims he used ash from Nazi concentration camp crematorium in his painting
A Swedish artist has caused outrage after exhibiting artwork which he claims to have painted using ashes gathered in the crematorium of a Nazi concentration camp.
Carl Michael von Hausswolff stole the ashes from Majdanek concentration camp in Poland during a 1989 trip and over two decades later, mixed it with water and used it as paint.
He has now been reported to the police for desecrating the remains of Majdanek’s Holocaust victims, under Swedish burial protection laws.
Mr von Hausswolff visited Poland in 1989 to exhibit his art at a gallery not far from Lublin, a town near Majdanek. He says he was ‘gathering material for the exhibition’ when he visited the concentration camp.
‘I gathered some ashes from one of the cremation ovens, but did not use it for the exhibition – the material was too charged with the cruelties which had taken place.’
Not until 2010 did the artist decide to ‘do something’ with the ashes he had stolen from Majdanek and used it as paint by mixing it with water.
The exhibited result has enraged art critics and provoked public outcry over the use of human remains as art.
Author and translator Salomon Schulman called the artwork ‘nauseating, obsessed necrophilia’.
With what he calls ‘posthumous disgust’, Mr Schulman asks: ‘Some of the ashes may be from one of my relatives? Maybe even a brother of my flesh?’
‘It is repulsive beyond the extreme’, he told Swedish television.