Free Dina’s Art


ICOM Responds, April 2011
April 7, 2011, 8:21 pm
Filed under: Active Decency | Tags: , , , , , ,

Within 10 days of the most recent request for information, ICOM’s  reply has arrived. Even-sided, level-headed and dripping with integrity and honesty, it says in part:

“…Much inquiry and reflection has continued to be directed to the case of Dina Babbitt’s watercolour portraits of Roma people incarcerated in Auschwitz.

The ICOM Ethics Committee will take account also of the position of the museum, and note its most recent expression of acknowledgment of the rights of the late Dinah Babitt,[sic] as author of the seven watercolour portraits (stated on the museum’s website).

Other colleagues within ICOM have been in touch with the museum in recent years, at the request of the Ethics Committee, to understand this case – and indeed it is highly complex, with many layers.

The Ethics Committee will be meeting this month (April) in Paris, and I will respond again after that time.”

This response represents a reassurance that the issue has not been forgotten by ICOM since Dina Babbitt’s passing, and that is a relief.

Can we accept that the fruit of forced labour belongs rightfully to that person who exacted the work originally, or to whomever may have found a way to benefit through the subsequent acquisition of that work? If we cannot, then it is clear that Dina Babbitt’s Human Rights have indeed been, and continue to be, violated by everyone involved in the daily running of the Auschwitz Camp since its original mandate was altered to change its role in human society from “death camp” to “tourist attraction.”

The next challenge, in a thinking, feeling world, is to convince those people at modern day Auschwitz that no actions carried out in any place, can be of greater import than the causes they  pretend to espouse. When that kind of thinking is allowed to prevail, we shall have already created our next “extreme ideology”. Do we really need that?

Recognition of one’s rights as “author” is not the same as recognition of one’s rights as “human”. Dina Babbitt’s rights as an “author” are undeniably demonstrated by her signature on the works in question. It is her rights as a “human” that need to be recognized and honoured here. The only way to recognize Dina Babbitt’s human rights is to restore her work to its rightful owners, her daughters.

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December 10, 2010
December 10, 2010, 8:12 am
Filed under: Active Decency | Tags: , , , , , , ,

Happy Birthday Human Rights Day

“Respect for human rights and human dignity “is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world”, the General Assembly declared…in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. In 1950, all States and interested organizations were invited by the General Assembly to observe 10 December as Human Rights Day (resolution 423(V)).

The Day marks the anniversary of the Assembly’s adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948. Over the years, a whole network of human rights instruments and mechanisms has been developed to ensure the primacy of human rights and to confront human rights violations wherever they occur.”

~United Nations’ Human Rights Day Web Site.
http://www.un.org/depts/dhl/humanrights/

The most significant part of the above statement might be its acceptance of responsibility “…to confront human rights violations wherever they occur.”

Certainly in the matter of Dina Babbitt’s human right not to be arbitrarily deprived of her property (U.N. Universal Declaration, Article 17a.), there remains some work to be done. To date, behind-the-scenes communications are apparently being conducted between members of the International Council of Museums and other parties concerning the Auschwitz Museum’s claim that it is morally and ethically in rightful possession of Dina’s gypsy portraits.

The Museum maintains that it has a right to arbitrarily deprive Dina Babbitt of her property.  Part of its argument involves the apparently sacred nature of Auschwitz itself, where the portraits were made. Because of the atrocities committed at Auschwitz, it, as a place, is more important to humanity than any actual member of humanity who was interned there. Some believe that this doesn’t make much sense.

In light of the hundreds upon hundreds of thousands of human beings who were slaughtered there in the name of extreme ideology, Auschwitz and the earth is indeed sacred ground. As such, it should certainly not be used to generate income no matter how noble the cause, since those who are paid from the funds raised, are in ethical danger of profiteering from the very Holocaust they claim to deplore.

Far better for the ground on which Auschwitz stands, would it be for contemporary humankind to recognize its failure for nearly a century to use this land in a truly human manner. Instead of a prison, or a concentration camp, or a death camp, or a museum to celebrate the horrors of a death camp, perhaps the land itself should be fenced off from all human contact from now on. Let us give the land on which Auschwitz stands back to its Creator and see what He would do with it.

Move out the Death House Treasures for those who would profit from such things; the evil evidence of humanity’s penchant for inhuman behaviour has no place on sacred ground. It is not the evil that occurred there that makes Auschwitz sacred. It is the passage of so many human souls through one small place, a jagged rip in the tapestry of human history that sanctifies the earth there. The land itself is sacred and should not be tainted by a tradition of human inability to behave humanely.

The Death House Treasures should not be used to lay open the wounds of mankind’s wretched past. While it is important to remember the past in order not to repeat it, it is equally important not to dwell in the past, but to recognize the promise of the future and to recognize humanity not as an achievement already attained, but as a goal yet to be fully realized.

The International Auschwitz Council can easily attain the goal of being more fully human by recognizing Dina Babbitt’s human rights and putting her portraits in  the hands into which she fervently wished to place them herself.

When the United Nations urges the IAC to recognize Dina Babbitt’s human rights and return her property, it will have confronted the human rights violations that occur at the Auschwitz State Museum.

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You can remind the Auschwitz State Museum and the International Council of Museums of your concern for human rights and how they can help.  Their addresses are linked on the left.



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.”

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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.)



Sept. 17, 2010 – Yom Kippur
September 18, 2010, 1:22 am
Filed under: Active Decency | Tags: , , , , ,

I would like to take this opportunity to remind the honourable and humanitarian members of the International Auschwitz Council that as of sunset, it is Yom Kippur.

The sun may have set on Auschwitz today, but the light of public awareness still shines brightly on what the Nazi Regime and the International Auschwitz Council did to Dina Gottliebova, and what IAC continues to do to her children and grandchildren.

Human Rights denial to Jews was considered a valid tactic by the Nazis. If only there were a group dedicated to seeing that it never happens again…

Never again.



VE Day – 2010

May 8, 1945.  Can it have been 65 years already?

At this time 65 years ago, Dina Gottliebova had just recently tasted freedom and hope after a steady diet of despair and hopelessness. Welcome to a new reality, one might think.

As the camp at Auschwitz was emptied, someone removed the watercolour paintings done by Dina during her internment and the paintings began a series of adventures of their own. Of the paintings’ very earliest adventures, we can only guess. Of their adventures since their positive identification in the early 1970s, we know only too well. And we know very well their role in Dina’s life experience with Human Rights Denial at the hands of  ‘extreme ideologies’.

Even the United Nations’ International Council of Museums is aware of the facts regarding the arbitrary denial of Dina’s property, and thereby of her Human Rights. It is the International Council of Museums that is charged with overseeing Museum Ethics and operating practices around the world. That is a pretty large order and the Council is to be congratulated for its facing up to the task so admirably in most instances.

But in the case of Dina Gottliebova, the International Council of Museums has not done its hastiest work. The Council has studied Dina’s case, and has consulted with many experts in fields related to Art and to Human Rights and to the Responsibilities of Museum Directorates. But today, more than 35 years after the positive identification of the watercolours in question as the work of Dina Gottliebova, the International Council of Museums has been unable or unwilling to apply the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, article 17a, to Dina Gottliebova and her property.

In the case of Dina Babbitt (née Gottliebova), the International Auschwitz Council (ironically, under the aegis of the United Nations itself,) has decided that the United Nations has no more say in how Auschwitz is run today than it did when Auschwitz opened for business in the first place.

In a brilliant Catch-22, the United Nations, which declared the Auschwitz State Museum a World Heritage Site, has essentially been told by the International Auschwitz Council, to mind its own business because what happens at Auschwitz stays at Auschwitz.

If this situation remains uncorrected, one might be forgiven for wondering if the United Nations lacks a certain moral testicularity – 65 years after the War in Europe was brought to a close and Human Rights were restored for everyone – almost.

In the column at the left, you can find addresses for both the Auschwitz Museum and for ICOM. If you have an opinion in this matter, you can make it known there and do your bit to end the Holocaust and all of its extreme ideologies, once and for all. It could be your little contribution to total Victory in Europe. Happy V.E. Day.



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.

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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.



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.