Holocaust Memories Scar Polish Visitors to the Bodies Exhibit
Since its inception in 2005, "Bodies...The Exhibition" has been steeped in controversy. The show features cadavers cut open and preserved, with the details of human anatomy there for all to see. Now the exhibit has traveled to Poland and with it a whole new set of problems.
Besides the "yuck" factor for those who a little squeamish in the tummy, the Bodies show also caused a furor as it crisscrossed the U.S. after an investigation suggested that the people had display were imported illegally, or never consented to become a museum exhibit in death.
In Poland, the problem is related to the Holocaust. Back then, the vile perpetrators of Hitler's genocide used victims of the Auschwitz Concentration Camp in Poland to make products, including lampshades. "The human being is sacred... A 'beautiful' lamp made of human skin in Auschwitz is the riposte to the question of where the human being ends and where art begins," Polish government official Jan Orgelbrand told Reuters.
It's unfortunate if "Bodies" brings back any horrific memories of the Holocaust during its stop in Poland. But at the same time, suggesting the operators are similar to Nazis because Nazis put human beings on display is a comparison that doesn't fly. The hyperbolic comparison of everything we don't like to Hitler or the Nazis is a trend that needs to stop.
And history shows that trying to censor that human body, or suggest that it is not "artistic," is a road to nowhere. The real ethical question over "Bodies" shouldn't be taste, but whether the origin of the specimens is legitimate. The exhibit's Web site said the bodies were Chinese cadavers donated to medical centers after going unclaimed, but there's no reason to believe they would have wanted to go on display after death—in Poland or elsewhere.
- The meaning of the word 'confidence' seems obvious. But it's not the same as self-esteem.
- Confidence isn't just a feeling on your inside. It comes from taking action in the world.
- Join Big Think Edge today and learn how to achieve more confidence when and where it really matters.
- There are 2 different approaches to governing free speech on college campuses.
- One is a morality/order approach. The other is a bottom-up approach.
- Emily Chamlee-Wright says there are many benefits to having no one central authority on what is appropriate speech.
America continues to tread water in healthcare and education while other countries have enacted reforms to great effect.
- The American healthcare and education systems are known to need some work, but a new study suggests we've fallen far in comparison to the rest of the world.
- The findings show what progress, if any, 195 countries have made over the last twenty years
- The study suggests that economic growth is tied to human capital, which gives a dire view of America's economic prospects.
- Economist Sylvia Ann Hewlett breaks down what qualities will inspire others to believe in you.
- Here's how 300 leaders and 4,000 mid-level managers described someone with executive presence.
- Get more deep insights like these to power your career forward. Join Big Think Edge.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.