The creator of Amazon’s new Hunters series, David Weil, has responded to criticism from the official Auschwitz Memorial, who have dubbed the Al Pacino-starring Nazi-hunting show disrespectful, “dangerous, and foolish.”
The backlash specifically revolves around a “chess match” scene in which a Jewish chess champion is held captive and forced to play a game in which fellow concentration camp prisoners replace traditional chess pieces and are killed whenever a player loses a piece.
While the show is inspired by true events, the memorial site states on Twitter that faking such a game only acts as a caricature of trauma and as holocaust denier fodder. Read the official post below.
In a statement to Deadline, Weil told of his own family ties to Auschwitz and his experience visiting the location. “I saw the gates my grandmother was forced to enter decades earlier and the barracks she was forced to live in as a prisoner. I saw vestiges of the nightmarish world she had survived. It was an experience that forever altered the course of my life.”
He continued: “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 creating this series it was most important for me to consider what I believe to be the ultimate question and challenge of telling a story about the Holocaust: how do I do so without borrowing from a real person’s specific life or experience?”
In relation to the specific chess scene, Weil offered: “Why did I feel the need to create a fictional event when there were so many real horrors that existed? After all, it is true that Nazis perpetrated widespread and extreme acts of sadism and torture — and even incidents of cruel “games” — against their victims. I simply did not want to depict those specific, real acts of trauma.”
Read Weil’s full statement over on Deadline.