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Bangkok’s prestigious Chulalongkorn University has apologized for a student mural depicting Adolf Hitler among a group of superheroes.
In a letter sent today to the Simon Wiesenthal Center, which had complained about the banner, the Thai school said the administrators and students “deeply regret the appearance of this deeply offensive mural.” The university found that the students who created the image were “unaware of its significance” and have been given a verbal warning.
The enormous graduation banner, hung outside the Faculty of Fine and Applied Arts building, bore the word “Congratulations” above images of Superman, Batman, the Incredible Hulk and other heroes, and included Hitler in the background giving the Nazi salute.
“Hitler as a superhero?” Rabbi Abraham Cooper said Friday in a statement posted on the Simon Wiesenthal Center website. “Is he an appropriate role model for Thailand’s younger generation— a genocidal hate monger who mass murdered Jews and Gypsies and who considered people of color as racially inferior? The Simon Wiesenthal Center is outraged and disgusted by this public display at Thailand’s leading school of higher education.”
But speaking to the Bangkok Post, Faculty of Fine and Applied Arts Dean Supakorn Dispan cautioned that the artists involved are first-year students who had only been at the university for a few months: “The students only wanted to show through the mural that different superheroes are there to protect the world and that there are both good and evil people.”