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News 25 Aug 17

Romanian Rappers Slated Over Holocaust Memorial Video

Romanian rap and hip-hop band Satra B.E.N.Z. has drawn serious criticism for a video shot in 2015 in the Holocaust Memorial in central Bucharest. 

Ana Maria Touma
BIRN
Bucharest
The Holocaust Memorial In Bucharest. Photo: Jaime Silva/Flikr.

A Romania rap and hip-hop band has come under intense criticism on social media and from human rights activists and politicians for a video shot two years ago in the Holocaust Memorial in central Bucharest.

The song, called #traparmy, by rap band Satra B.E.N.Z., popular especially among Romanian teens, is not related to the Holocaust – and the rappers use indecent language, social media users complained.

The song is the first single that the band released in 2015, almost a year after they set up the group. The video has drawn over 10 million views on YouTube.

The controversy over the song started on Wednesday when former human rights activist and Social Democrat MP Petre Florin Manole issued a press release criticizing the band for the choice of location.

“A monument dedicated to the memory of people persecuted for their ethnicity, a space that should inspire respect and decency, has been transformed into décor for a music video. It’s scandalous and immoral,” the MP wrote.

“I do not mean to criticize the music or their right to freedom of expression, especially artistic expression. But I believe places like this should be treated with more respect and more reserve,” he said.

Manole called for the band to withdraw the video and film instead ikn locations that do not violate the memory of innocent victims.

His press release and the video posted on the Manole’s Facebook account soon went viral on social media, with the Romanian state Institute for the Memory of the Holocaust Elie Wiesel sharing the video.

The band has not made any official statement. BIRN contacted the founder and producer of Satra BENZ but he did not respond.

The Memorial of the Holocaust, located in Bucharest’s old centre, was inaugurated on October 8, 2009, on the eve of The Holocaust Remembrance Day.

It commemorates the over 250,000 Jews who died in 1941 after Romania’s fascist regime deported them to Transnistria, today a breakaway region of neighboring Moldova.

The walls in the central hall of the memorial, where the video was shot, contain inscriptions of the names of Holocaust victims. The monument has always been heavily guarded.

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