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Thailand Hitler banner forces university to apologize

By GABRIELLE LEVY, UPI.com   |   July 15, 2013 at 1:58 PM   |   Comments

July 15 (UPI) -- A university in Bangkok, Thailand that came under fire for displaying a mural showing Adolf Hitler along with superheroes has apologized, claiming ignorant students were responsible for the painting.

We "would like to formally express our sincere apology for our students' 'Superhero' mural," said Chulalongkorn University art school dean Suppakorn Disatapundhu, in a statement. "I can assure you were are taking this matter very seriously."

The mural, which shows Hitler with his hand raised in the infamous Nazi salute, along with Superman, Captain America, the Hulk, Batman and others, under white lettering spelling out "Congratulations."

Suppakorn said the mural's message was to contrast Hitler to the heroes but showing good and bad co-exists in the world

The students "told me the concept was to paint a picture of superheroes who protect the world," Suppakorn said, pointing out they heroes appear in color, while Hitler is painted in greyscale. "Hitler was supposed to serve as a conceptual paradox to the superheroes."

Online photographs showing students imitating Hitler's pose circulated online, prompting rash of criticism. Jewish human rights group the Simon Wiesenthal Center slammed the university for allowing the painting.

"Hitler as a superhero? Is he an appropriate role model for Thailand's younger generation -- a genocidal hate monger who mass murdered Jews and Gypsies and who considered people of color as racially inferior?" Wiesenthal Center associate dean Rabbi Abraham Cooper, said in a statement. "The Simon Wiesenthal Center is outraged and disgusted by this public display at Thailand's leading school of higher education."

The university removed the billboard Saturday, after it was on display for just two days.

© 2013 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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