Amazon’s new series slammed for ‘false’ Nazi human chess game

The Auschwitz Memorial has criticised Amazon for its depictions of the Holocaust in its new Prime series Hunters.

A scene in the first episode, starring Al Pacino, shows a murderous game of human chess in which people are killed when they are taken off the board.

Hunters, released on Friday and starring Al Pacino, features a team of Nazi hunters in 1970s New York who discover that hundreds of escaped Nazis are living in the United States.

However, the series has faced accusations of bad taste, particularly for depicting fictional atrocities such as the chess game.

Museum spokesman Pawel Sawicki said: “This is false. There was no such thing.”

Auschwitz was one of the death camps in Poland
Auschwitz was one of the death camps in Poland

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Hunters stars Logan Lerman and Al Pacino discuss what they’ve learned from each other ahead of the release of the new show .

Authors and artists have a special obligation to be honest about Auschwitz, Mr Sawicki said.

The museum tweeted: “Auschwitz was full of horrible pain & suffering documented in the accounts of survivors.

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“Inventing a fake game of human chess for @huntersonprime is not only dangerous foolishness & caricature. It also welcomes future deniers. We honour the victims by preserving factual accuracy.

“Creating fiction that distorts the history of this real place is disrespectful of the people who suffered here,” Mr Sawicki added.

He said the museum is always willing to provide factual advice to anyone studying or working on Auschwitz history, but added that programme makers did not contact the museum for help.

The series, created by writer David Weil and produced by Jordan Peele, follows a group of Nazi hunters led by Pacino in 1970s New York.

In a statement, Mr Weil said: “While Hunters is a dramatic narrative series, with largely fictional characters, it is inspired by true events. But it is not documentary. And it was never purported to be.”

“In speaking to the ‘chess match’ scene specifically this is a fictionalised event. Why did I feel this scene was important to script and place in series? To most powerfully counteract the revisionist narrative that whitewashes Nazi perpetration, by showcasing the most extreme and representationally truthful sadism and violence that the Nazis perpetrated against the Jews and other victims,” he added.

Al Pacino holds up his Oscar during the 65th Annual Academy Awards ceremony 29 March 1993 after being presented the Best Actor award for his performance in Martin Brest's 'Scent of a Woman'

Oscar nominee Al Pacino speaks to Sky News about the awards ahead of the release of his new Amazon Prime Video TV show, Hunters, out on 21 February.

More than one million victims, mostly European Jews, died in the World War Two camp’s gas chambers or from starvation, disease and forced labour.

Emotional international observances with the participation of survivors were held last month in Oswiecim to mark 75 years since the Soviet army liberated the camp.

Amazon has recently come under fire for selling antisemitic books, including The Jewish Question in the Classroom by Nazi propagandist Julius Streicher.

On Friday, Auschwitz Memorial retweeted a letter, written by the Holocaust Educational Trust, asking Amazon to remove books by Streicher from sale.