Auschwitz Museum Calls Out Amazon’s Poor Choices for the Second Time This Week

A fictionalized scene in the new Amazon show depicts prisoners at Auschwitz being forced to participate in a game of 'human chess.'

The main entrance gate to Auschwitz and its ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’ sign. Artur Widak/NurPhoto via Getty Images

During a time in world history where far-right and antisemitic sentiments are very much on the rise, the Auschwitz‑Birkenau Memorial and State Museum serves as a vital resource for the ways in which we process the past and the present. The museum has a very staunch presence on social media, and this week, the institution commented on a scene in the new Amazon (AMZN) original series Hunters, which tells the story of vigilante Nazi hunters living in 1970s New York City. In a statement, the museum expressed disappointment in one of the show’s creative choices: in a scene that takes place at Auschwitz, characters are evidently forced to be pieces in a game of “human chess.”

“Auschwitz was full of horrible pain & suffering documented in the accounts of survivors,” the museum stated in a tweet. “Inventing a fake game of human chess…is not only dangerous foolishness & caricature. It also welcomes future deniers. We honor the victims by preserving factual accuracy.” This comment marked the second time in two days that the museum took Amazon to task: on the 23rd, the museum called out the platform for offering antisemitic literature for sale.

As for Hunters, it definitely seems like a strange creative choice to embellish the entirely true horrors of Auschwitz with an idea that seems like it’d be more at home in a campy Saw film. That’s why continual cultural commentary from institutions like the Auschwitz‑Birkenau Memorial and State Museum is so vitally important to the collective discourse: without checks on and criticism of historical fiction, certain creative liberties could shade and shape our understanding of the past. That’s not to say that show-runners shouldn’t be allowed to have creative freedom, but rather that deep consideration of best practices is necessary when the subject matter is this important.

Auschwitz Museum Calls Out Amazon’s Poor Choices for the Second Time This Week