Auschwitz Memorial calls Amazon's Hunters 'disrespectful and dangerous,' drawing defense from creator

(Image credit: Frazer Harrison / Getty Images)

If there's one position you don't want to be in as a TV showrunner, it's getting publicly blasted as "dangerous" by the Auschwitz Memorial.

But that's the situation facing Amazon's Hunters, which revolves around hunting Nazis in the 1970s to prevent the rise of a Fourth Reich, a few days after it made its streaming debut. Auschwitz Memorial on Sunday took issue with one particular scene in the series, which depicts a game of human chess being played with concentration camp prisoners.

Auschwitz Memorial noted this scene to be historically inaccurate and argued it "welcomes future deniers," also calling it "disrespectful and dangerous." The memorial argued the show could have come up with a "non-existing camp and Nazi atrocities perpetrated there" but that "if you however use a real place, respect its history and suffering of its victims."

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Hunters creator David Weil, whose grandmother was an Auschwitz prisoner, is now responding to the criticism in a statement shared with The Hollywood Reporter, noting the series is "not documentary" and explaining that he wanted to avoid taking from any "real person's specific life or experience."

Weil also said of the chess scene, "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."

Hunters hasn't proven to be any less controversial among critics, with the Reporter's Daniel Fienberg calling the depiction of "fictional atrocities" to be a "strange choice," while Vox's Aja Romano writes that the series overall "might be far more effective at titillating and arousing Nazi sympathizers than it is at speaking to the Jewish community."

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