The Shmooze

ADL's Take on Holocaust-Themed Video Game

By Josh Tapper

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The Anti-Defamation League once again looked to make an imprint on gaming culture by declaring a new Holocaust-themed, first-person shooter video game inappropriate. The game, called Sonderkommando Revolt, is set during the October 1944 Auschwitz uprising, which resulted in the death of over 400 Sonderkommando, Jewish concentration camp workers involved in the perpetration of Nazi crimes.

“Perhaps well intentioned in its creation, [the video game’s] execution and imagery are horrific and inappropriate,” an ADL spokesperson told video game blog Kotaku. “The Holocaust should be off-limits for video games.”

In the game, players control an Auschwitz prisoner named Zalmen Gradowski as he violently slaughters Nazis with a trove of weapons.

“With its unnecessarily gruesome and gratuitous graphics, it is a crude effort to depict Jewish resistance during this painful period which should never be trivialized,” the ADL spokesperson said.

While well-intentioned, the ADL’s statement could be viewed as blatant hypocrisy, essentially arguing video game depictions of Jewish Holocaust vengeance are less valuable than, say, Quentin Tarantino’s gruesome and gratuitous 2009 movie, “Inglourious Basterds.” Here’s what the ADL said in August 2009:

“Inglourious Basterds” is an allegory about good and evil and the no-holds barred efforts to defeat the evil personified by Hitler, his henchmen and his Nazi regime. If only it were true! Employing drama, comedy and romance with the quintessential Quentin Tarantino touch, the film is entertaining and thought-provoking.


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