Rabbis brand Madame Tussauds’ Hitler saluters ‘ignorant’

Visitors making offensive gestures next to a Madame Tussauds waxwork of Adolf Hitler have been branded “ignorant” and “insensitive” by two St John’s Wood rabbis.

The Marylebone Road attraction hit the headlines last week after visitors were seen making mock Nazi salutes next to a waxwork of the former German leader.

Madame Tussauds bosses apologised to those offended but declined to move the model to a display behind glass.

Rabbi Alexandra Wright of the Liberal Jewish Synagogue said: “I want to despair when I see ignorant and utterly insensitive behaviour by people whose education and upbringing have left them without awareness and knowledge of the events of the Holocaust and Second World War.”

She also suggested Madame Tussauds is being “highly irresponsibly” by not fully explaining the Nazi leader’s actions in an educational context.

“If there is a comment by the model and an explanation of his role in the killing and murder of millions of innocent men, women and children – murdered simply because of their faith, their disability, their sexuality, their political affiliations - then the museum is assisting visitors in understanding something of European History,” she said.

“But if nothing is there then the museum is being highly irresponsible.”

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Rabbi Ivan Binstock of St John’s Wood Synagogue said it was the responsibility of visitors to behave appropriately rather than Madame Tussauds.

“It’s a person in history whose actions we are not at all happy with, but it’s up to the people visiting to recognise that their actions are wrong,” he said. “It shows a level of ignorance and that’s worrying.”

Madame Tussauds spokeswoman Liz Edwards said: “I can assure you that Madame Tussauds places information next to each figure, and Adolf Hitler’s figure very much highlights his role and actions in British Modern History and is absolutely in context.”