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Israeli art student steals objects from Auschwitz-Birkenau

By Danielle Haynes
The Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum said it plans to file a complaint against an Israeli art student who admitted she stole items from the death camp. File Photo by Andrzej Grygiel/EPA
The Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum said it plans to file a complaint against an Israeli art student who admitted she stole items from the death camp. File Photo by Andrzej Grygiel/EPA

July 19 (UPI) -- A college student in Israel whose grandparents survived the Holocaust admitted she stole artifacts from the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp for an art project.

Rotem Bides told Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth on Sunday she visited the camp in Poland six times and took shards of glass, small bowls, a metal screw, soil and a sign warning visitors not to steal anything.

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Bides said she wanted to use the objects for her final project at Best Perl College's Faculty of Art because she is "concerned that after all the survivors are gone, the Holocaust will turn into a myth, something that cannot be perceived."

"I felt it was something I had to do," she said, adding that she feels no regret for taking the objects. "Millions of people were murdered based on the moral laws of a certain country, under a certain regime. And if these are the laws, I can go there and act according to my own laws. The statement I'm making here is that laws are determined by humans, and that morality is something that changes from time to time and from culture to culture."

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The Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum, which controls the site, said it plans to file a complaint against Bides with Polish authorities.

"This is painful, outrageous & disrespectful," the museum posted on Twitter. "Auschwitz-Birkenau site is preserved to testify for the future. 'Art' does not justify theft."

After learning of the theft, the school said it removed the controversial exhibition and requested a meeting with Bides for disciplinary action.

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