Free Dina’s Art

If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em!
October 9, 2010, 12:44 am
Filed under: Active Decency | Tags: , , , , , ,

Auschwitz–Birkenau, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has its own web page under the UNESCO banner. Auschwitz is worthy of being called a world heritage site for several reasons (according to the United Nations). Among these reasons is criterion (vi), which says in part,

“it is a place of our collective memory of this dark chapter in the history of humanity, of transmission to younger generations and a sign of warning of the many threats and tragic consequences of extreme ideologies and denial of human dignity.”

Let me repeat that last part which claims rather blatantly that today’s Auschwitz Museum exists as:

“…a sign of warning of the many threats and tragic consequences of extreme ideologies and denial of human dignity.

When the Nazi ideology denied Dina Babbitt her human dignity, it was because Nazism was  an extreme ideology. Later, after 1973, when the current Auschwitz Museum withheld from Dina Babbitt her own work, it was not seen by the International Auschwitz Council as a denial of her Human Rights, her human dignity, or any other form of violation. It was simply the application of the IAC’s ideology to Dina Babbitt’s life.

Thus, for the next three decades and continuing up to the present day, the International Auschwitz Council did just what the Nazis did in denying Dina Babbitt her human rights. But that’s okay because the International Auschwitz Council is made up of doctors and humanitarians and former victims of Auschwitz itself.

Well, ‘Beppo’ Mengele was a doctor. And his vile practices were done only to improve the lot of the German race, so he was a humanitarian too, if we allow him to define the terms of how he treated Dina Babbitt.

The International Auschwitz Council is taking a page out of the good Doctor’s book and applying it to the extreme ideology of the Holocaust Industry and the Polish Tourist Industry, if we allow them to define the terms of how they treated Dina Babbitt while she was alive, and of how they are treating her descendants today.

Perhaps it is time for the Auschwitz Council to remove the Arbeit Macht Frei sign and replace it with one that says, more honestly, “If You Can’t Beat ‘Em, Join ‘Em.”


You are invited to make known your own opinions on this question of extreme ideologies. You can comment here; you can write to the Auschwitz Museum;  you can express your opinion to the United Nations via the International Council of Museums’ Ethics Committee. There are links on the left that will empower you to be a participating objector rather than a tacitly approving audience to the hypocritically extreme ideology of the International Auschwitz Council. (You will also be helping them fulfill their mandate of warning today’s youth of the dangers of extreme ideologies and the denial of human dignity.)


Art Survives:

Expressions From the Holocaust

Friends in California, especially those around San Diego, have a rare opportunity this spring to learn more about Dina Babbitt’s Gypsy portraits and related Holocaust Art and Survival Stories in an exhibition at the Gotthelf Art Gallery.

The exhibition, curated by filmmaker Hilary Helstein, runs from

Wed. March 18 to Thurs. May 21, 2009


The Gotthelf Gallery,

The San Diego Center for Jewish Culture,

4126 Executive Drive,

La Jolla CA.

The exhibition, called “Art Survives: Expressions of the Holocaust”, features the work of Holocaust survivors in looking at some of the stories rooted in that experience.

The show opens Wednesday, March 18th at 6:00 pm and includes a screening of the documentary “As Seen Through These Eyes“, Hilary Helstein’s  2008 film on the subject of holocaust survival.

The exhibition and film together promise to provide an enriching experience for anyone fortunate enough to be in attendance.

Anyone who does see the show, is earnestly invited to leave their impressions of it in the comments section below.

Clarification Please!

My response to the current Auschwitz Administrator has been copied to the ICOM Ethics Committee as it appears below:

Tim Thibeault                                                                                                                      Ottawa, Canada                                                                                                           February 13, 2009

Dr. Piotr M. A. Cywiński,                                                                                         Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum                                                                            Oswiecim, Poland

Dear Dr. Cywiński,

Thank you for your prompt response to my inquiry of February 9th, 2009. I appreciate that this required translation of my concerns prior to your consideration of this issue. I do regret that I am unable to address you in your own language which would certainly ensure a more immediate understanding for both of us.

Nevertheless, it is important not only to my own understanding, but to that of all people who desire to end the Holocaust and its lingering effects once and for all, that we accept certain basic principles. I believe that it is not enough that the killing of innocent people at the Death Camps be stopped. That much has been accomplished.

More disturbing at this time, is the ongoing denial of the Human Rights of Dina Gottliebova-Babbitt and her contemporaries most of whom suffered and died in your camp and its affiliate institutions. This part of the Holocaust has not yet ended: the denial of Human Rights as defined by the Universal Declaration continues to this day in the policies of the Auschwitz State Museum.

It is this arbitrary decision to confiscate their property that casts a far greater “shadow on the memory of Auschwitz Concentration Camp victims” both past and present, than any “dispersal” of their property to those who rightly own it.

Prior to being starved, abused, and summarily murdered, these people had all traces of their humanity confiscated by your own predecessors; according to Mrs. Babbitt, even their underwear. How much more humiliation can be heaped on people than the denial of their possessions, their identities (to be replaced by numbers tattooed on their bodies), and their right to live?

Sadly, there is more that can be done to them, even by well-meaning people and institutions: they can be told that their lives were spared and that that is enough. They can be told that they should not expect to have their Human Rights respected as well. They can be offered a defense of the property rights of Josef Mengele as evidence that their property is not their own, with the accompanying tacit observation that they as human beings, were also once Mengele’s property. I find this stance very distasteful and unacceptable both morally and ethically.

I believe that the entire civilized human race also disagrees with the denial of Human Rights to even one of its constituents when that can be stopped, and in the case of the policies of the Auschwitz State Museum, it most assuredly can be stopped. You can stop it, if you choose.

In particular, I refer to Article 17 of the above mentioned Declaration, which states:

“Artykul 17 Kazdy czlowiek, zarówno sam jak i wespól z innymi, ma prawo do posiadania wlasnosci. Nie wolno nikogo samowolnie pozbawiac jego wlasnosci.”

It is the arbitrary nature of your Institution’s policy that I find most troublesome. Someone has decided quite arbitrarily that the “moral and statutory” obligation of the Auschwitz State Museum supersedes its obligation to respect the articles of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

This same conclusion was reached by Dr Josef Mengele and it was so unacceptable then, that my own father went on a prolonged tour of Europe in the 1940s to reverse that arbitrary decision. He was not invited by the administrators of your institution. He went at the invitation of a civilization worthy of protection. I would be profoundly ashamed to see his efforts wasted in the name of some arbitrarily defined greater good to society, without speaking out to correct those presumptions.

If we open the door to Human Rights denial in one instance, then we are only allowing that Dr Mengele and his contemporaries were correct in their assumptions, and I cannot accept that you, as Director of Auschwitz today, would take that stance by defending Dr. Mengele’s property rights over the Human Rights of his intended victims.

I hope that this link will help you familiarize yourself with the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and better understand my position:

In closing, I must ask you again to clarify for me precisely why the Auschwitz State Museum should be exempted from respecting the articles of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as several articles of the International Council of Museums Code of Ethics for Museums.

Again, I and hundreds of concerned individuals the world over, look forward to your response to our very serious concerns.

Most Sincerely Yours,

Tim Thibeault

Auschwitz, Is That You?
February 5, 2009, 9:20 pm
Filed under: Active Decency | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Finally, thirty days after this blog started, a new dot has popped up on our ClustrMaps counter; our Flags counter has also shown a new viewer from Europe, from Poland in fact.



We have already seen how quickly ICOM responded to our urgings to look into the matter of Human Rights Violations by the current Auschwitz-Birkenau regime. Now, we may suppose from the ClustrMap dot centered on Oswiecim, Poland, that the good folks at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum have also seen our arguments.

Although those arguments have been very harsh and cruel to date, there is in these new dots, some evidence that ‘harsh and cruel’ will get attention when respectful politesse has been brushed aside for over 35 years.

I will be only too happy to remove all references to European Tourist Traps and Birkenau Bad Boys from this blog, and even to delete the whole blog itself, when I am sure the portraits are on their way home. That will happen when someone in a position of authority decides that the only right course of action at this time is to respect the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and to Free Dina’s Art .

A 21st Century Nazi Collaborator in Defense of the Indefensible

A friend of this site sent a polite letter to the Auschwitz  Museum 10 days ago. The following response arrived today. (My own somewhat ’emotional’ letter was sent 21 days ago. I guess my reply got lost in the post.)

Here is the full text of the form-letter you will receive when you send a polite letter to the Oświęcim Party Palace.  It is signed by Dr. Piotr M.A. Cywiński,  the 21st Century Nazi Collaborator who has taken over the responsibilities of his gone but not forgotten mentor,  Dr. Josef Mengele.

Dear *_Your Name Will Appear Here_*

In reply to your letter the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in Oświecim
wishes to express its deep understanding of emotions arising from the
issue of the watercolors by Mrs. Dina Gottliebova-Babbitt and good
intentions of people who have been involved in this issue.

However, the Museum would like to remark that the actual situation does
not coincide with the one presented in support letters or some world
media. We would like to draw the attention to the fact that the portraits
of Gypsies made in the camp by Mrs. Dina Gottliebova-Babbitt have never
been her property. They were made on the order and for the use of the
SS-Haupsturmfuehrer dr. Joseph Mengele as materials for his
pseudo-scientific work on physical resemblance of Gypsies from various
countries. Nobody asked for permission the Gypsies who were portrayed and their portraits were made under duress.

Therefore we must distinguish between the two basic issues: ownership and
copyright to a particular artwork. There are no doubts that the latter are
owned by Mrs. Dina Gottliebova-Babbitt. Such has been and is the Museum’s
position. As a matter of fact Mrs. Gottliebova-Babbitt has never owned
these watercolors and thus there is no possibility to return them.

At the moment the watercolors play a very important documentary and
educational role as a part of the Museum free of charge permanent
exhibition in Block 13, dedicated to the extermination of Sinti and Roma
in the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. These works are also
included in various educational projects, publications and research works.
The Museum has not made commercial use of these works, because we fully
respect the copyright of Mrs. Dina Gottliebova. All decisions regarding
terms and conditions of using these portraits in various publications,
documentaries are made by the author herself.

Considering the moral basis, the Museum agrees with the opinion expressed
by the International Auschwitz Council, Roma circles and former prisoners.
We believe that documents such as these watercolors must not become
ordinary objects for private use. Otherwise the small amount of surviving
evidence of genocide and original artifacts, could be dispersed and the
authentic sites of persecution would be deprived of its unique and < BR>> universal significance.
These watercolors depicting Gypsies who perished in the Auschwitz-Birkenau
concentration camp contribute significantly to commemorate and increase
the awareness of the mass murder
of Sinti and Roma and therefore all victims of genocide. In this case the
opinion of the Roma organizations is univocal and to keep the watercolors
in the Museum is the question of priority. Thus, they should remain at the
site, where they were created, where they speak most loudly and play the
role of the evidence of crime, which cannot be replaced with a copy.

Yours sincerely,
Dr. Piotr M.A.Cywiński
Museum Director

For my own (and no one else’s) Skanky Rebuttal, check the pages list over on the side there, as soon as my blood pressure lowers enough that I don’t see everything as shades of red.

(If YOU have an opinion now, you can use the comments box below.)