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Thread: Artist Rights Violation At Auschwitz

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    I think it's a case of national treasure.

    The problem is, instead of having descovered some Van Gog in an old chest somewhere and hooking it as National treasure the artist is still alive.

    This is a difficult situation. I'd say she needs at least some form of compensation or they need to be returned.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TASmith View Post
    "People have the right of protection against unemployment and the right to work."

    ????????????? What???????????? No.
    ????????????? What???????????? Yes.
    Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.
    Article 23 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

    And that's the document Tim Thibeault was talking about.

    That's much broader than any nation's law and I doubt any country holds them all.
    Still, those are your rights as human beign.

    Edit: and it's those rights I'm referring to in the case of sex offenders. It's no compare of Dina to them.
    Society may think different (and in some cases I agree) but people have fundamental rights according to the Universal Declaration.

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    A UN Declaration is not a law, to the best of my knowledge, and there's a huge difference between unemployment protection i.e. social welfare, versus requiring private businesses to give jobs, which is what your wording implies. I can't just go to any company and demand a job, and I can't sue if they say no, unless I can claim unfair discrimination. Private companies have, and should have the right to hire and fire employees whenever, and for whatever reason, so long as those reasons are fair and agreed upon in contracts. Anyone should be able to choose their field of interest, and town of residence, but actually getting a job must be based on free competition.

    Rights are determined by nations, not the UN. Every nation ought to give certain rights, but it's always up to the people of each nation to demand them.

    I have the feeling we have very similar beliefs both on the question of Dina and rights, and this all seems a debate over wording. Possibly Engllish isn't your first language. In light of this, I have no interest in continuing a debate over wording.

    Last edited by TASmith; May 17th, 2009 at 09:10 AM.
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    It's very clear. The only way the museum would be entitled to retain the works is if an agreement was signed by Babbitt, not under duress, laying out licensing conditions and stating she was signing over rights of her artwork to a third party. No such agreement exists. Therefore, she holds full control of the licensing and usage of her artwork and if she wants them back then, under law, she is entitled. It's not a point that can be reasonably countered.

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    To put Mengele, Hitler, and the memorial museum in auschwitz-birkenau in the same sentence (to link them ideologically or state they're somehow mistreating the artist in a even slightly comparable way) - like some people seem to do here - is probably the most fucked up and perverted thing i have read hear since these boards exist.

    also to phrase it "free dina from auschwitz" wasn't the most sensible idea...

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    Quote Originally Posted by TASmith View Post
    ...
    Just to clarify, Josef Mengele is dead. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josef_Mengele
    I've heard that rumour too.

    Vincent van Gogh is dead. His work lives on, and that is good.
    Michaelangelo is dead. His work lives on, and that is good.
    Josef Mengele is dead. His work lives on. Can you see where this is going?

    For someone who considers himself an artist, your sweepingly dismissive comment reveals more, perhaps, than was intended.

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    Quote Originally Posted by the_jos View Post

    ....As a reaction to Tim:

    People have the right of protection against unemployment and the right to work.

    ....snip.....

    It's mainly about 'me and my rights' and not about 'our rights as human being in a demoncratic society'.
    Each of us has a right to espouse any cause we choose. We can even start a thread about it in CA Forums to seek support.

    Ed Cherniga's goal here appears to have been to invite like-minded artists to support Dina Babbitt's rights as a human being and as an artist. His battle is for group recognition of individual Human Rights. When he wins, YOUR rights will be protected in part by HIS efforts.

    If you're going to get on board Ed's train, you can shovel coal or you can drag your feet. I'm here to shovel coal and keep the train rolling (AWAY from Auschwitz, not toward it).

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    Tim, I didn't intend to offend, nor was I dismissing anything. It's just that your sentence implied you thought Mengele was still alive and posting in this forum thread (reread it). The present continuous verb tense is only used for living persons. It's not my intention to pick at grammar, but after reading your post, I assumed you really did believe he was still alive, and I clarified that for you and anyone else reading.

    I also signed the petition. We're on the same side here.

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    Do you kiss your Mother with that mouth?

    Quote Originally Posted by janni View Post
    To put Mengele, Hitler, and the memorial museum in auschwitz-birkenau in the same sentence (to link them ideologically or state they're somehow mistreating the artist in a even slightly comparable way) - like some people seem to do here - is probably the most fucked up and perverted thing i have read hear since these boards exist.

    also to phrase it "free dina from auschwitz" wasn't the most sensible idea...
    It was Mengele who, for a time, controlled Dina Babbitt's art and her enjoyment of life. He forced her to make the paintings and he decided arbitrarily, as an Auschwitz administrator, what the fate of her art would be.

    Subsequent Auschwitz administrators, Dr. M. A. Cywinski being only the most recent, have also taken it upon themselves to decide arbitrarily what the purpose and fate of Dina's art will be. "Some people" have not said that, Janni, I have. And I stand behind it.

    The apparent inadequacy of your vocabulary serves only to underscore that this topic is not completely accessible to you.

    Good luck with that.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TASmith View Post
    Tim, I didn't intend to offend, nor was I dismissing anything. It's just that your sentence implied you thought Mengele was still alive and posting in this forum thread (reread it). The present continuous verb tense is only used for living persons. It's not my intention to pick at grammar, but after reading your post, I assumed you really did believe he was still alive, and I clarified that for you and anyone else reading.

    I also signed the petition. We're on the same side here.
    Thanks TA. I am being a tad defensive here, perhaps because my sense of righteous indignation has been piqued by what appears to be a distinct, and sometimes strident, lack of empathy on the part of people who would call themselves artists.

    It seems obvious to me (but perhaps only to me) that our rights as Human Beings and as artists are inextricably bound together. If we do not protect one, we may soon find ourselves lacking both.

    For these reasons I support Ed Cherniga's goal and urge anyone, artist or not, who values his Human Rights, to speak out in defense of them for everyone.

    Finally, I thank you TA, for remaining calm and thoughtful. Your attitude reminds me, when I am on the brink of getting all yelly and sweary, that rational thought doesn't need exclamation points or curses, just clarity.


    "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil, is for enough good people to do nothing." ~Edmund Burke

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    It's the right thing to give them back to her.

    Contrary to absurd, often self-serving viewpoints, morals are not as simple and black and white as "turning the other cheek". Proper ethics, on the other hand, take into account a greater variety of battles where grey areas are the norm and recognized as such. The rights of the artist, rather than the rights of the museum are foremost here, since we would all suffer more deeply for the loss of art than we would the loss of museums - where would museums (even history museums!) be without art? And art without artists? This is the sort of abuse that prevents people from becoming artists....who wants to be part of an industry where your bread and butter can be stolen from you any time society says so?

    Leaving the paintings there perpetuates similar abuses against artists and will remain a black mark on the museum and the country housing that museum for as long as they keep the paintings.

    fucking godamned commies!!!

    sehertu mannu narāṭu ina pānāt šagapīru ningishzidda
    abrahadabra
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    Quote Originally Posted by TASmith View Post
    I have the feeling we have very similar beliefs both on the question of Dina and rights, and this all seems a debate over wording. Possibly Engllish isn't your first language. In light of this, I have no interest in continuing a debate over wording.
    Indeed English isnīt my primary language but I think I know it well enough to express my opinion in it and to understand most stuff. The few things I do struggle with are mainly old English literature or very specific pieces.

    We share believes on Dina and rights, only based on different points of view.

    As I already stated, based on Dali's case I'm reconsidering my old (legal) point of view. According to (US) law the artist/creator has a lot of rights. I'm not sure how Polish law handles this subject and the European Convention on Human Rights does not deal with this kind of disagreement.
    I already said that on personal level I saw no problem in returning the originals.

    But when arguing based on the Universal Rights declaration, as Tim did, I'm not convinced. The declaration is much broader. And Tim's argument must be based on this declaration or rights above local law, else the 'arbitrary decision of one person or policy' would come in sight. But since those ain't laws they have no power, you noticed that right.
    This makes our 'Human Rights' already subject to 'someone else's arbitrary decision', our various governments. And those seem to have little problems putting some of those rights aside when it suits them.
    And people demanding those rights? I think Plato was fairly right with his 'ship of state' metaphor. And I've got little doubt I'm one of the quarrelling sailors

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tim Thibeault View Post
    It was Mengele who, for a time, controlled Dina Babbitt's art and her enjoyment of life. He forced her to make the paintings and he decided arbitrarily, as an Auschwitz administrator, what the fate of her art would be.

    Subsequent Auschwitz administrators, Dr. M. A. Cywinski being only the most recent, have also taken it upon themselves to decide arbitrarily what the purpose and fate of Dina's art will be. "Some people" have not said that, Janni, I have. And I stand behind it.

    The apparent inadequacy of your vocabulary serves only to underscore that this topic is not completely accessible to you.

    Good luck with that.
    well well, please for once don't argue with the vocabulary used. if that's offending you, i am actually a bit curious now how it comes you aren't ashamed at all about the comparisions you draw here. your insult is quite worse than those oh so evil 5-letter words. if you dont realize that, just maybe it's you the topic isn't quite accessible too...? and i stand behind what i said as well, sir. if the crime comitted is not returning artwork, a comparision to mengele is realy quite perverted. and to fight "to free her work from auschwitz" is hysterical at best. and displays a lack of dignity and respect that puts your whole cause into a light it doesn't need to be in.

    while (as an artist) i absolutely agree that it's dina's right to reclaim her work and it should be given back to her (unless the museum actually purchased it from the RIGHTFUL owner in the 70s), i realy don't understand why artist and museum aren't on the same side here. and as an artist i dont understand why dina isn't proud that her work is on display at auschwitz and can do good in the hands of the public and can remind people of the cruelties of the past and can prevent that what happened to her might happen to others. which is the whole point of auschwitz-birkenau as you find it today afterall.
    because as an artist i ALSO understand the social responsibility artists can have and why it is important that history isn't forgotton and that artwork like hers stays in the hand of the public. the original is history. a copy is not. but what happens with originals is of course entirely up to her. if they are still legally hers - and i don't claim i have enough insight into the whole ordeal to judge that. since there seem to be a lot of different oppinions on that.

    Last edited by janni; May 17th, 2009 at 01:03 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by janni View Post
    as an artist i dont understand why dina isn't proud that her work is on display at auschwitz and can do good in the hands of the public and can remind people of the cruelties of the past and can prevent that what happened to her might happen to others. which is the whole point of auschwitz-birkenau as you find it today afterall.
    because as an artist i ALSO understand the social responsibility artists can have and why it is important that history isn't forgotton and that artwork like hers stays in the hand of the public. the original is history. a copy is not. but what happens with originals is of course entirely up to her.
    Dina is part of history where there is no fame and no glory.
    Those pictures excist because something terrible happened.

    Let the pictures be part of history and not of the present. Sure, replicas can exist but it's ok if the originals are gone forever. Like those events that created them should be gone forever and never return.
    I think Dina seeks closure and if returning the paintings can give that closure I I don't see any social responsibility for her not to ask them back.
    The replicas can be part of that social responsibility, but there is no need for the originals. There are many things we have only replicas of that are part of history, why not in this case?

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    I interrupt this interesting and entertaining debate with an update for clarification.
    I am speaking now to those who wish to do something to help support human and artists rights as we gain the return of Dina’s work.
    I have secured a very large piece of real estate in the form of a famous art gallery, for the purpose of using our art to support human and artist’s rights.
    Here is how it will occur-
    *We are gathering a roster of artists who are willing to voice their commitment of involvement and as soon as we have a clear idea of how much space the exhibit will require, then we will be assigned a date.
    *When that date is on the calendar, I will make a press release.
    *We will prepare our exhibit to make a tour of galleries IF Dina’s art does not return to her hands when this show ends.
    *Interested artists need only PM me, with a link to your work and you will then be greeted by information and cooperation.
    * Use this thread to brainstorm and discuss ideas for actions we can take to secure the return of our colleague's art work. I understand the need for debate and hope it continues to prove to be productive.
    I am willing to do what it takes to make this painless for the artists involved and we will proceed with respect and cooperation.
    My determination cannot be swayed and I will not let this opportunity to defend human and artist’s rights go to waste.
    This one show could do the trick, if not, we have long and far reaching plans to reach our goal. This will happen as quickly or as slowly as the determination of our community allows. We are prepared for a long fight nonetheless.
    We will do this together, as a community and Dina’s art will make it back to her hands.

    Last edited by Mebiusu; May 17th, 2009 at 05:28 PM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by the_jos View Post
    Dina is part of history where there is no fame and no glory.
    Those pictures excist because something terrible happened.

    Let the pictures be part of history and not of the present. Sure, replicas can exist but it's ok if the originals are gone forever. Like those events that created them should be gone forever and never return.
    I think Dina seeks closure and if returning the paintings can give that closure I I don't see any social responsibility for her not to ask them back.
    The replicas can be part of that social responsibility, but there is no need for the originals. There are many things we have only replicas of that are part of history, why not in this case?
    Are you saying forget the Holocaust? Replicas are all well and good, but the originals represent a tangible link to a past which should never be forgotten or completely tidied away and confined to old books. Don't underestimate the power that something REAL has to educate people.

    Artists should be rewarded and I dare say in this case the artist probably has a right to reclaim her work. However to see these pictures locked away in a private collection thousands of miles away would be a great loss that we should try and avoid.

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    I want to reiterate, these original works of art are NOT on display in the museum, Prints are on display. Only the museum knows where the originals are kept. FYI

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    Quote Originally Posted by Edward Cherniga View Post
    I want to reiterate, these original works of art are NOT on display in the museum, Prints are on display. Only the museum knows where the originals are kept. FYI
    now thats realy fucked up then

    doesn't matter who they belong to after all. if they're not even on display, the museum should give them back to the artist as a sign of good will and to redeem the crimes done to her. in this case even the conservation of the historical pieces is ruled out as an argument (although it would still be nice to know, that they won't get lost).

    the museum still shouldn't be compared to mengele though...

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    Quote Originally Posted by janni View Post
    now thats realy fucked up then

    doesn't matter who they belong to after all. if they're not even on display, the museum should give them back to the artist as a sign of good will and to redeem the crimes done to her. in this case even the conservation of the historical pieces is ruled out as an argument (although it would still be nice to know, that they won't get lost).

    the museum still shouldn't be compared to mengele though...
    If the museum doesn't want to be compared to Mengele, then they must not use his logic to justify the unjustifiable. To claim that any group has moral or ethical superiority over an individual, is precisely what Mengele did. The Nazi claim that "Millions stand behind me," uses the will of a greater number of people to deny human rights to one person.

    The current museum administrators' stance is that their cultural mandate morally outweighs Dina's human experience and rights. Wrong! and so they open themselves to comparison to Mengele and the Nazis by their own actions.

    In that old fairytale, it wasn't the little boy who could not see the Emperor's New Clothes who was wrong. It was the evil men who convinced the Emperor that only the truly "worthy" among his subjects could see the fine and glorious fabric of his new wardrobe. No matter who is to blame, the Emperor is still naked on parade, and expecting the people to be impressed by his new clothes. Like that little boy, I am unimpressed.

    The UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights is merely a glass through which we can see clearly, the nature of the fabric in which all Emperors clothe themselves.


    But I would never argue against returning the paintings to the artist from whom they were wrongly acquired. To that end, I do support Ed Cherniga's very admirable efforts, and would feel honoured to have my work included in any show he organizes to achieve those ends.

    "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for enough good people to do nothing." ~Edmund Burke
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    Hmm... That is fucked up. I'd still like to see them in a public collection though.

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    I'm really shocked by the museum's stance on this. The pieces were extorted out of the artist (if "Paint or your mother gets killed" doesn't qualify as extortion, I don't know what does). I would think that possessing extorted goods would be akin to possession of stolen goods. And what is to be said about the person who made money off the paintings by selling them to the museum? Why is Dina Babbitt expected to give up her rightful property for some 'greater social purpose' while someone else laughed all the way to the bank with money from HER artwork? This adds insult to injury.

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    Signed. Bad enough being exploited once. If it's part of history, we should all pay for it.

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    The forced conditions under which this art was created is a war crime. Those are still being prosecuted right? Artist's rights are important and no one has the right to take an artist's works without compensation, regardless of cultural importance. This holds true in many civilized countries. Citizens sue for stolen commercial jingles and the courts defend their rights. This woman's rights as a human and an artist have been ignored because she is the victim of a war crime. Insane. Her rights must be defended and they must be restored. If they are not, then who will we turn to when our rights have been ignored? Thank you to everyone who is stepping up here.

    Last edited by Mebiusu; May 18th, 2009 at 06:06 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by DuneFishUK View Post
    Are you saying forget the Holocaust? Replicas are all well and good, but the originals represent a tangible link to a past which should never be forgotten or completely tidied away and confined to old books. Don't underestimate the power that something REAL has to educate people.
    As you already learned the pieces displayed ain't the real paintings but replicas. So there is no difference.

    And am I saying forget the holocaust? No.
    What I'm saying is that we are trying to preserve the past instead of using it to guide us to the future. The holocaust was not an isolated incident, history has many examples of the difficulty of humankind to deal with 'other people'.
    The holocaust is only (a significant) part of that history.
    We need the originals to preserve the past, but we don't need them to guide us to the future. Replicas will do just fine for that.
    I do know the value of something real, but the museum can also tell the complete story and how Dina lived on and got her own paintings back.
    Even if she decides to destroy them or lock them away forever this can be part of that story. Now the story ends with the dead, the people on the painting. When the paintings are returned the story can end with the living, the present and future.
    I think that's something the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum should consider. Do they exist to preserve the past or to shape the future?

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    If I look at patterns of history and the classic pattern of the way stuff change in the media etc... I wouldn't be surprised if the original frame of what happened there got twisted somehow to mean all kinds of things but losing its original frame of context.

    That is why history keeps repeating it's self. Because everything get's censored polished or the original actuality twisted.

    Without proof of the originals, I'm not to sure I buy the story anymore and without having seen the works, they most probably contain stuff that are selling some sort of idea about what happened there.

    ----------------------------------
    Scetchbook: View the exhibitionist's stuff.
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    In my oppinion its a matter of the rights of the artist to decide how their work is used. If she doesn't want her work there then it is her right to demand it back.

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  41. #57
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    There's been a lot of very valid arguments made already, but I'm siding on the side of "give her back her stuff"

    The museum's message wouldn't be less right if it showed reproductions rather then originals.

    Borrowing someone his/her own stuff is a ridiculous idea.

    If the artist isn't dead as well as his/her family, they should have expected, when buying the paintings, to hear from them... They're probably hoping money will win over rights or that she'll die before it is judged that they should return her the paintings. She's on a timer and they're not.

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    What kind of emotions are you looking for in the pieces Ed?

    Are there already chosen pieces that we might take a charge/example from?
    [Something to work next to and intensify the whole gallery feel]

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    The artist should get her works back, and its not like its the only thing left of Auschwitz to remind us just how horrific the Holocaust was. People seem to worry that if the artist gets her work back that a crucial piece of information about the Holocaust would be lost. There is plenty of evidence to reinforce that it happened. She made the work, she has a right to get it back

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    @the_jos, Dina simply wants to have the right to decide which museum she will donate the paintings to. She has made this clear.
    @zaorr, The museum states that the paintings are stored on the premises.
    @Peter Coene, yes, indeed.
    @freiheit, As you say, she IS on a “timer” and that is the only reason I have mentioned her health, to drive that fact home. I thought people might want to know that.
    @Dward, I would never be the arbiter of another artist’s creativity. Discussions with the others involved reveals the same attitude. We are intentionally making every effort to not influence the art in the show I.E.- we are keeping those artists who are involved close to the vest in the hope that doing so will have absolutely no effect on who submits and their decisions re: the work they choose to submitt. Do what comes naturally.
    @AeonPhoenix, Exactly and the irony is that her artistic rights are being ignored and she is being discriminated against BECAUSE she was victimized by the Holocaust. Insane.
    In other news, I have continued to fine tune the presentation of our information based on the helpful suggestions from some of you. The mission statement has been retooled, {since I enjoyed a good nights sleep} :] Double thanks and please let me know if anything else comes to mind. Cheers

    Last edited by Mebiusu; May 20th, 2009 at 06:39 PM.
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