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Amazon series Hunters under fire over 'foolish' Auschwitz 'human chess' scene

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Jordan Peele, center, executive producer of the Amazon Prime Video series "Hunters," poses with cast members Logan Lerman, left, and Al Pacino at the premiere of the show.
Jordan Peele, center, executive producer of the Amazon Prime Video series "Hunters," poses with cast members Logan Lerman, left, and Al Pacino at the premiere of the show.   -   Copyright  (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)   -   Chris Pizzello
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A scene in a new Amazon TV series which depicts guards at Auschwitz forcing inmates to play a game of human chess has been criticised by the official museum of the site.

The scene in the show Hunters, which depicts the hunt for Nazi war criminals in the U.S. after World War Two, shows inmates being forced to play the game and murdered when they leave the 'board'.

But the Auschwitz‑Birkenau Memorial and State Museum said on Twitter that there is no evidence that such a game was ever played, and that there was little need to invent atrocities that took place given the extent of the pain and suffering inflicted on inmates at the camp.

"Auschwitz was full of horrible pain & suffering documented in the accounts of survivors. Inventing a fake game of human chess [...] is not only dangerous foolishness and caricature," it said.

"It also welcomes future deniers. We honor the victims by preserving factual accuracy."

But in a heartfelt statement in response, the creator and executive producer of Hunters, David Weil argued that the show "is not documentary" and "never purported to be."

Weil - whose grandmother, Sara, survived Auschwitz - said that he deliberately sought to tell a story about the Holocaust "without borrow[wing] from a specific moment in an actual person’s life."

"Why did I feel the need to create a fictional event when there were so many real horrors that existed? [...] I simply did not want to depict those specific, real acts of trauma," he said.

Hunters has received positive reviews on review-aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, with a score of 63%.

More than one million people, most of them European Jews, perished at Auschwitz, many in the gas chambers or through forced labour, starvation and disease.

The 75th anniversary of the liberation of the camp by the Red Army was marked on January 27, 2020.

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