Free Dina’s Art

Mengele As Role Model

ICOM Code 2.3 – Contemptible Obfuscation

Here is section 2.3 of the document that outlines the faux nobility of the Auschwitz Museum’s stance:

“2.3 Provenance and Due Diligence
Every effort must be made before acquisition to ensure that any object or specimen offered for purchase, gift, loan, bequest, or exchange has not been illegally obtained in or exported from, its country of origin or any intermediate country in which it might have been owned legally (including the museum’s own country). Due diligence in this regard should establish the full history of the item from discovery or production.”

Some might argue that, since Josef Mengele was the law when Dina’s art was made, it was therefore legally obtained by him and would now rightfully belong to his descendants. This seems to be the long-standing attitude of the Auschwitz Museum, and according to the Auschwitz Museum’s Curator,  Teresa Swiebocka, (as quoted in the Jewish World Review of Oct. 24, 2006) …

“We haven’t any reason to change our attitude of a few years ago,”

From the sounds of Teresa’s letter responding to Dina’s request, it would appear that only Dr Mengele has any legal claim to her work, and Teresa Swiebocka is prepared to defend Dr Mengele’s claim; some readers might even interpret her assertion to mean that Teresa Swiebocka stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Josef Mengele in defense of what is right and good for the whole human race. With Teresa Swiebocka and Dr Josef Mengele leading them, how can the Auschwitz Museum administration possibly be wrong?

I choose to believe that enough decent people, acting in defense of Human Dignity, can give Teresa Swiebocka and her Museum, plenty of reason to change their attitude.

Although Teresa Swiebocka,  heir apparent to Dr. Mengele’s morality, understands his stance, and even uses  it to defend her Museum’s actions, she also needs to know that relatively few people in the civilized world would now turn to Josef Mengele for ethical guidance.

If you should decide to drop her a note, (her address is: with “ATTN: Teresa Swiebocka” in the subject line) you might point out the existence of the ICOM Code of Ethics for Museums and ask her how her current position squares with that so proudly proclaimed by her professional colleagues in the Museum world. Or does the Museum world itself stand behind the Swiebocka/Mengele team? I would really like to know the answer to that one.


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