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Guerrilla artist paints Simpsons as Holocaust victims

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Published: 31 January 2023

Last updated: 5 March 2024

Milan’s Holocaust memorial has welcomed the unexpected paintings.

(JTA) — Just before International Holocaust Remembrance Day, Milan’s Holocaust Memorial debuted an eye-grabbing new addition on some of its exterior walls: murals of characters from The Simpsons dressed as Jews under Nazi rule.

But the Shoah Memorial Foundation said the well-known Italian pop artist who painted the murals didn’t reach out before creating the series of images, some of which show Homer, Marge, Bart and Lisa Simpson in concentration camp garb.

“We were not involved in the decision process and found the painting yesterday morning along with everybody else,” a spokesperson told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency on Friday. 

In the end, the foundation didn’t mind the gesture.

We appreciate the intention behind it, and don’t find it particularly harmful,” said Roberto Jarach, president of the foundation.

(Courtesy of aleXsandro Palombo)
(Courtesy of aleXsandro Palombo)

The memorial is found at Platform 21 inside the Milano Centrale, the city’s main train station. About 1200 Jews were deported to Nazi camps from the platform in 1943. AleXsandro Palombo, whose style usually involves using figures from popular culture to tackle dark issues, made the murals on the outside of the station.

“These works are a visual stumble that allows us to see what we no longer see. The most terrible things can become reality and art has the duty to remember them because it is a powerful antidote against oblivion. The horror of the Jewish genocide must be transmitted without filters to the new generations to protect humanity from other horrors such as the Shoah,” Palombo wrote in a statement.

Last March, Palombo painted a mural of Anne Frank on a street in Milan showing the Frank burning a piece of paper with the letter Z on it. The letter has been associated with the Russian military in the wake of its invasion of Ukraine.

Photo: Artist aleXsandro Palombo painted several images of characters from The Simpsons on the outside of Milan's central train station. (Courtesy of Palombo)

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