Arts and Culture | World

‘Dancing Auschwitz’ video gets mixed review

A YouTube video of a family singing and dancing at Auschwitz has received more than half a million hits and mixed reaction.

Australian artist Jane Korman filmed her 89-year-old father Adolek Kohn, a former inmate at Auschwitz, and her three children dancing outside the infamous death camp in Poland, as well as at the Dachau concentration camp in Germany, Terezin in the Czech Republic and other Holocaust memorial sites in Europe to the tune of Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive.”

The video, which was posted originally last December, received mass viral attention last month, skyrocketing to more than 500,000 hits on the popular video-sharing website.

The video also has generated more than 3,000 responses, many of them sympathetic. But some were scathing, and the video also has been exploited by neo-Nazi websites. Korman, of Melbourne, posted a message defending her work.

“To those that I have offended — I am sorry,” she wrote. “My intention was to present a fresh perspective to younger generations who have often become desensitized to the horrors of the Holocaust. I hope ‘Dancing Auschwitz’ helps keep the lessons of the past alive so they will be forever remembered.”

When she first posted the video online, Korman wrote, “This dance is a tribute to the tenacity of the human spirit and a celebration of life. It is an affirmation that man can triumph over the darkest of circumstance and still strive to find beauty and peace.”

In an interview with the BBC last month, Korman’s father said first the family prayed for the martyrs. “The dancing was also very important because we are alive, we survived,” Kohn said. Not everyone agreed. Kamil Cwiok, 86, told The Daily Mail that “I don’t see how this video is a mark of respect for the millions who didn’t survive, nor for those who did. It seems to trivialize the horrors that were committed there.”