Is Rome a Nazi lager?

An unnamed artist thinks Rome is a modern-day Nazi death camp, apparently. He even put up a sign in the Pigneto neighborhood saying so.

Like any self-deprecating artist he began to backpeddle as soon as he was accused of anti-Semitism. That’s not what he meant, at all. His apparent reasoning is that the neighborhood in which his sign appeared is a neighborhood of immigrants. Immigrants are oppressed. Hence the analogy to Nazi oppression of the Jews, forced labor and, well, extermination. If you’re finding this a bit far-fetched a comparison, I’m not sure the artist is much help in explaining his position.

Why did you need to use [the gate at Auschwitz] to make your point?

My installation is different…I used different materials. They used iron [at Auschwitz] and I used industrial pipes. Even the fonts are different! And mine is in English.

Oh, that makes sense now. It was written in English because that’s the language of immigrants. (Certainly not because the media would pick up on it and make him an overnight enfant-terrible. No, not that!) And certainly he meant no disregard to the actual people who were murdered in Auschwitz and other Nazi death-camps for the sole crime of being Jewish. Why on earth would people be so upset at his ingenious artistic rendering of immigrant suffering? Why do people accuse him of that most damnable of prejudices? Can’t they read his universal proletariat message loud and clear?

Ah, the plight of the misunderstood genius! Or has Auschwitz become the new crucifixion?