Letter from ADL Regarding Antisemitism in Art Exhibition

The Honorable Claudia Roth
Dienstsitz der Kulturstaatsministerin
Willy-Brandt-Str. 1
10557 Berlin

Dear Madam Minister:

Since its founding 109 years ago, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), has been a global leader in combating antisemitism and extremism. We have followed with great concern the story of blatant antisemitic images featured in the documenta 15 art exhibition.

We write to convey that concerns about this scandal are felt well beyond Germany, especially as documenta is a world-renowned art exhibition.  We think this scandal could have been avoided had appropriate measures been taken.  The Central Council of Jews in Germany informed us that they had raised concerns with your office long in advance about antisemitism at the documenta fifteen art exhibition.

While the President of the Central Council, Dr. Schuster, conveyed to you in April 2022 that he held “unsuccessful talks with documenta head Dr. Sabine Schormann” to ensure that no antisemitic artworks would be exhibited, no actions were taken by you or your office to ensure the involvement of antisemitism experts or the Central Council.  If the staff of documenta, which receives funding from your Ministry, had inspected the exhibition and failed to notice the blatant antisemitism, then they were woefully unprepared for that task.

We respectfully request that your Ministry provide a clear and public commitment that such a failure of action will not be repeated, especially in light of the long-standing commitment of successive German governments to fight antisemitism unrelentingly.

Yours Sincerely,

Sharon Nazarian
Senior Vice President, International Affairs
CC: Daniel Botmann, Executive Director, Central Council for Jews in Germany