Indonesia museum removes Hitler display after protests

In this Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017, photo, a wax figure of Adolf Hitler is displayed against the backdrop of an image of Auschwitz-Birkenau complex of concentration camps, at De Mata Museum in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. Rights groups have expressed outrage over the display calling it “sickening” and that “It mocks the victims who went in and never came out.” (AP Photo/Slamet Riyadi)

JAKARTA, Indonesia (AP) — An Indonesian visual effects museum that encouraged visitors to take selfies with a waxwork of Hitler against a giant image of the Auschwitz extermination camp has removed the exhibit after protests.

The De Mata Trick Eye Museum’s marketing officer said the statue was removed Friday night following an Associated Press story highlighting outrage from Jewish and rights groups.

Human Rights Watch had denounced the exhibit as “sickening” and the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center, which campaigns against Holocaust denial and anti-Semitism, had demanded its immediate removal.

The museum, which has waxworks of about 80 famous people, had the Hitler figure on display since 2014.

It initially defended the exhibit as “fun” and said it was one of the most popular waxworks with visitors to the infotainment-style museum in the central Java city of Yogyakarta.

On Sunday, the space at the museum occupied by Hitler was empty and the image of Auschwitz, where more than 1 million people were exterminated by the Nazi regime, was gone.

It was not the first time Nazism and its symbols have been normalized or even idealized in Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation and home to a tiny Jewish community.

A Nazi-themed cafe in the city of Bandung where waiters wore SS uniforms caused anger abroad for several years until reportedly closing its doors at the beginning of this year.

In 2014, a music video made by Indonesian pop stars as a tribute to presidential candidate Prabowo Subianto stirred outrage with its Nazi overtones.