Skip To Content
JEWISH. INDEPENDENT. NONPROFIT.

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
The Schmooze

Only Jews Could Shock Berlin Like This

Remember New York in the 80’s? Than you can imagine what certain parts of Berlin look like today. Here you can still see entire neighborhoods serving as battlegrounds for graffiti writers and street artists.

The graffiti scene always had a strong force in this city. The Berlin Wall was a prominent surface for protest slogans and nowadays the German capital seems to be too broke to challenge the autonomous art front.

While I was walking through Berlin, I spotted a line of Hebrew text on a big psychedelic mural. It took me several seconds to realize that I had just bumped into an artwork about the Holocaust consisting of carefully designed colorful vignettes. Most of the references seemed easy to decode: A pile of burning books, a train, a skeleton, a soup.

Others were slightly more ambiguous: Why was Hitler wearing a wig? Why was the skull decorated with vegetable-like flowers? And who was the figure in the center: A green-skinned man with a pink beard emanating hot radiations in vagina-like shapes? Was he a science-fiction rabbi? A potent God who had emerged of a teenage boy-phantasy? And more importantly, who in Germany would create such an insane Holocaust mural right next to the train station?

Don’t get me wrong. I wasn’t shocked to see a provocative approach to depicting the most traumatic chapter of Jewish history. I had read ‘Maus I and II’ by Art Spiegelman, I had watched ‘Inglorious Bastards’ by Quentin Tarantino, I was familiar with the Lego concentration camp by Zbigniew Libera, which was exhibited in art shows all over the world.

But in this case I was confused about the lack of explanation. There was no sign informing about the authors. In a place like Germany I would at least expect some sort of trigger warning. I realized soon that the mural was part of the Urban Spree Gallery, which specializes in street art. I spoke to the curator, Pascal Feucher, who told me about the Israeli artist collective Broken Fingaz: Four guys from Haifa in their twenties. They had the guts to create a mural called ‘Shoa Acid’ in the capital of Germany. And after this coup they simply hit the road to their next artist residency in Mexico.

Engage

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.