Free Dina’s Art

Holocaust Hypocrisy

In early April of 2010, a poor old man in Rome tried to take some of the heat off his boss by comparing the world’s righteous revulsion at Vatican protected pedophilia to the very unrighteous collective rudeness of the Holocaust.

Naturally, this comparison seriously burned some people, particularly those who know the difference between a yarmulke and a Yamaha, and who make it their life’s work to taunt the rest of the world with the fact that some of your ancestors may have done some very bad things to some of their ancestors a long time ago.

That any man could make such a comparison is an outrage worthy of worldwide attention and condemnation according to the poor old geezer’s critics.

Those critics don’t like it when the world is mean to its Jews. Being mean to Jews is bad and it must not be tolerated even in the feeble-minded babblings of an addle-pated old hypocrite in a floor length gown.  So we’d better get the world’s attention and rant about this until someone apologizes and promises never to do it again. If bad things aren’t stopped early and completely, another Holocaust is surely just around the corner.

Personally, I believe it might not be out of order to find someone of that same old man’s generation and ask him or her to give that old man a very brisk slap across the face and tell him to give his head a shake, get a grip on himself (metaphorically), and try to see the light. But I digress…

The true light in all of this is the radiant glow that emanates from the hypocrisy of those same critics of that poor old Vatican babbler. They are shocked, SHOCKED (apparently) that such an idea could be uttered by someone in such a position.  The thoughts of what some might call a powerless old fool are too hurtful to be put into words and spoken aloud.

And yet, the actions of the International Auschwitz Council are not the least bit offensive when they demonstrate the need for the curtailment of Jewish Human Rights in order to benefit their museum and so, to keep the members of the IAC in their highly respectable positions on ‘the Council’. The arbitrary decision of the IAC to deny Dina Babbitt her Human Rights, to keep her property for their own shows a pitiable congruence to the thinking of Dr Josef Mengele who first promulgated the so far very successful notion that the State’s work undertaken at Auschwitz is, and always will be, more important than the Human Rights of any Jew.

But, according to the practices and policies of the International Auschwitz Council, that’s the way it is, and no old loon in a dress is allowed to pretend that the evil done to his boss is anywhere near as bad as the evil we re currently allowed to inflict on anyone we choose as long as they are Jewish and used to live (rent free) at Auschwitz.

Sometimes, I’m afraid that I’m the only person on earth who sees the stupidity in what well organized groups of people are willing and even anxious to do to one another just so they can call themselves thoughtful humanitarians.


There are some links on the left in case you’d like to drop a note to anyone to share your thoughts on this matter.


February 2010 – Waiting for Word…
February 11, 2010, 6:24 pm
Filed under: Active Decency | Tags: , , , ,

It has been three months since the  ICOM Ethics  Committee met in Paris. The matter of Dina Babbitt’s Art and Human Rights was, I believe, on the agenda of that meeting, at least as a point of discussion.

It may be overly optimistic to look for results so soon. I’m hoping not. Knowing that the Ethics Committee is very earnest in its work, and having already sent the following message, I am now wondering if I am being too pushy too soon, or if 12 weeks is a reasonable amount of time after which to seek out fresh information to confirm that Dina’s Art and her Human Rights are not forgotten.

Well, hasty or not, here is the most recent missive to my contact at ICOM.

February 10, 2010 (12:50 hrs EST)
Ottawa, Canada

Dear Mrs Murphy,

I am writing to request any further information you might be able to offer on the matter of the Auschwitz Museum and Dina Babbitt’s human rights claims, specifically the return of her Gypsy portraits.

Since Mrs Babbitt’s recent death, the museum’s current practice now encroaches on the human rights of not just one person, but of five, Mrs. Babbitt’s heirs.

I appreciate that the Ethics Committee, no doubt, has a full roster of issues and one that encompasses many larger problems than this. Nevertheless I believe that human rights, defined as clearly as they are in the UN Universal Declaration, should be a concept readily accessible to any thinking person, most particularly to those who work where humanity’s extremes of good and evil are most starkly documented.

I thank you for your efforts and whatever information you can provide at this time, as well as for the many other instances where the Ethics Committee works to achieve a global standard of humanly respectable museum practices and policies. It is commendable work toward a worthy goal.


Tim Thibeault

cc: Karin Babbitt
cc: Michele Kane

Dina’s Story in Popular Culture
January 3, 2010, 4:12 pm
Filed under: Active Decency | Tags: , , , , , ,

Among Dina Babbitt’s friends and supporters during her lifetime were many artists, illustrators and cartoonists. In 2009, the people behind Marvel Comics depicted her story in one of their more popular graphic novel series,  “X-Men, Magneto Testament.”

The story in that issue has been made into a video production and is now available on YouTube. You can see it for yourself here:

ICOM? Are you still there?

This site reaches its first anniversary on January 1, 2010 as a now international effort to have Dina Babbitt’s artworks returned to their rightful owners by the International Auschwitz Committee. Dina Babbitt fully deserved during her lifetime, recognition of her status as a human being to whom certain clearly defined rights are accorded by international agreement, and, allegedly, by the International Auschwitz Committee itself.

In spite of their stated, and apparently noble goals, the IAC has failed miserably in the pursuit of those noble-sounding ideals. Dina Babbitt was denied her rights by the original owners of the Auschwitz Camp. The current owners also refuse, as they have for over 36 years, to acknowledge Dina’s Human Rights by relinquishing her property. They CLAIM to recognize Dina Babbitt as a human being, but in keeping her works from her, their actions can only underscore the falsehood of those claims.

Through our words, we show the world only that which we wish the world to think we are.  Through our actions we show the world who we truly are.

This pitiably blind group, the International Auschwitz Committee, has made itself the sole institutional heir to Hitler’s ideology that only those with power can define what is right and human. Both Hitler and the current IAC would maintain that the goals of the institution established at Auschwitz (whether the year be 1943, 1952 or 2010) are of paramount importance in making this world a better place.

Those goals may appear, through careful wording, to have changed over time but they have not. In essence, the IAC maintains that what was made at Auschwitz must stay at Auschwitz in order for the crimes committed there to be made right. And, there is no one better suited to define what is right than the administrators of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Concentration Camp/Tourist Attraction.

The art itself, 7 portraits of Gypsy Holocaust victims, was made by Dina Babbitt in her teen years while she was an internee at Auschwitz. Each of the persons depicted in the portraits was murdered soon after his or her portrait was completed.

It was the Nazi plan to demonstrate the racial inferiority of their victims and thus justify their monstrous humanity-denying practices. What happened to those victims was immaterial once the Nazis had what they wanted.

The International Auschwitz Committee, through its ongoing institutional behaviour is living proudly up to the standards established by Hitler and his cohorts. What happened to Dina Babbitt was immaterial to the International Auschwitz Committee once they had what they desired – Dina Babbitt’s possessions.

Due to the rigorous efforts of the International Auschwitz Committee, Dina Babbitt suffered for the rest of her life and died on July 29, 2009  without ever having enjoyed the benefits of what the United Nations calls its, “Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”

Let us hope that by next year at this time, Mr. Hitler’s work at Auschwitz will have been stopped completely. Let us strive to see the International Auschwitz Committee live up to its mandate and Free Dina’s Art.

International Council of Museums, it’s your turn to say something now.

Worldwide Ethics
December 8, 2009, 1:33 am
Filed under: Active Decency | Tags: , , , , , ,

While awaiting further word from Paris on Dina Babbitt’s Gypsy portraits, it might be helpful to look at another issue recently discussed by the ICOM Ethics Committee.

The Committee met in October of this year and at least one of the issues on their agenda made headlines concerning international affairs. Here is a report from Taiwan News Online concerning ICOM’s take on museum artifacts and the importance of ethical provenance:

Taiwan News Online – October 28, 2009

The provenance of Dina Babbitt’s paintings does not support the Auschwitz Museum’s claims to ownership, and the decision to deprive her of her property is clearly both arbitrary on the part of the International Auschwitz Council, and a violation of her Human Rights.

Those in support of Dina Babbitt’s Human Rights are waiting now for news from ICOM, and from the Auschwitz Museum.

Thanksgiving 2009
November 27, 2009, 5:16 pm
Filed under: Active Decency | Tags: , , , , ,

Thanksgiving Day 2009 has come and gone. Across America, people have pushed back their chairs, loosened their belts a notch or two, and thought of the things for which they are thankful – and of the things for which they would LIKE to be thankful.

Dina Babbitt had many thoughts of gratitude during the years she waited for the return of her property from the current administrators of the camp  where the denial of her human rights began over sixty years ago.

Dina was particularly grateful for the USA and the freedom it offered her after her ordeal in 1940s Europe. She was grateful for her family and the security they could enjoy in a society that respects human beings and their universally recognized rights.

There was one thing, however, for which she would have liked to be grateful. Dina Babbitt longed for one thing that was not to be granted in her lifetime. She longed for the return of her possessions, for the respect of her own human right to possess the things she made and owned.

The  small collection of  Gypsy portraits forced from her hands under  conditions of incomprehensible moral and ethical depravity,  and now denied her by the museum administrators at Auschwitz and their protectors, were to haunt Dina Babbitt to the end of her days. All she asked for was the return of seven little pieces of paper that belonged to her.

The irony in her wish was that the very institution that tried to dehumanize her and to replace her name with a number, although eventually ‘liberated’ and turned into a museum, has maintained its underlying extremist ideology that the work carried out on the grounds of the Auschwitz camp is more  important than the rights of any individual. This argument was in vogue when Auschwitz opened its doors for business and it remains in vogue today. That’s a bloody shame.

Someday, I hope to  be grateful that  human rights denial is no longer an official practice anywhere on the globe.  For today, I am grateful that I do not understand humanity’s potential for evil to the degree that Dina Babbitt came to understand it throughout her life.

Happy Birthday United Nations!
October 24, 2009, 2:40 am
Filed under: Active Decency | Tags: , , , , ,

Sixty-four years ago today, on October 24, 1945 the United Nations was born, kicking and screaming after 5 years of labour, and covered in the blood of innumerable innocents. More or less.

Today, these words from U.N. Headquarters:

“The United Nations is doing its utmost to respond — to address the big issues, to look at the big picture. We are forging a new multilateralism that can deliver real results for all people, especially those most in need.”

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon
Message on UN Day, 24 October 2009


However noble we may perceive our cause to be, we are wrong to punish innocents in its name. The Museum at Auschwitz, in denying Dina Babbitt her property based on whatever arbitration, has performed an epic fail on moral, ethical and humanitarian levels.

As the United Nations enters its 65th year, I wish them all, each and every nation of them, only one thing – unity. It would be good if we could all see even briefly, through the eyes of those we victimize in the name of our particular ideologies. That would help unite the nations for sure.