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February 28, 2013 - Image 18

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2013-02-28

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Celebrate is around the corner ... our annual Party
Planning Guide. A must-have for any Simcha!

Our annual party planning guide features party photographs from local
professional photographers plus articles on bands, parties and how-to

guides. A must have for any simchah.

AD DEADLINE: MARCH 18TH, 2013
PUB DATE: MARCH 28TH, 2013

DETROIT
JEWISH NEWS

JN

The artist calling himself "Penny Gaff," with his face disguised, preparing to
hang a Nazi-inspired art installation at the Packard plant in Detroit. From
the Facebook page of Penny Gaff.

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ebruary 28 • 2013

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Artist claims responsibility for
Nazi-inspired sign in Detroit.

T

he so-called "artist" of the
"Arbeit Macht Frei" installa-
tion at the Packard plant in
Detroit, removed Feb. 5, came for-
ward last week on Facebook, calling
himself Penny Gaff and claiming the
offensive sign was the first install-
ment in a series for a public art proj-
ect called "We are the Zombies."
The red letters that appeared in
the windows of the walkway con-
necting two sections of the aban-
doned plant were the same German
words, meaning, "work will set you
free" that greeted Jews arriving at
the Auschwitz death camp during
World War II.
"Despite the piece only surviv-
ing a short while due to mindless
vandalism, it successfully served its
purpose to provoke thought, cre-
ate dialogue and bring attention to
an environment and its inhabitants
who have long been forgotten and
neglected," said the Facebook poster
claiming to be the artist.
The sign was removed by Roni
Leibovitch, 33, of Detroit, grand-
child of a Holocaust survivor, and
Randy Wilcox of Harper Woods,
an artist who runs the urban photo
blog detroitfunk.com , who said, "If

that horrible sign was an act of free
speech, then so was us tearing it
down."
The self-proclaimed artist wrote
on a Facebook post: "`Arbeit Nacht
Frei' was cruelly placed at the
entrances of labor camp in irony,
with the knowledge that there is no
light at the end of the tunnel, no
hope, only death. A parallel can be
drawn with the current corporato-
cracy we are subjected to today ...
I placed the sign on the overpass,
the gateway to Detroit, the heart of
a once-booming industrial America,
full of capitalist promise and hope.
Once, it employed thousands of
people, but now lies in ruins and is
dead, as are the dreams of those who
sacrificed their lives in the form of
labor."
Heidi Budaj, regional director
of the local ADL, said in response:
"The prominent display of this quote
at a historic Detroit landmark was
disturbing and deeply offensive to
victims of the Holocaust and to those
who fought valiantly in World War II.
Although this 'artist' justifies his use
of an obvious symbol from the most
heinous genocide of the modern era,
his efforts sent a message of hate:'



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