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Auschwitz Memorial criticizes new Amazon Prime show 'Hunters'

"We honor the victims by preserving factual accuracy," the memorial said of a scene it thought was both offensive and dangerous.
Image: Al Pacino and Logan Lerman in a scene from Amazon's \"Hunters.\"
Al Pacino and Logan Lerman in a scene from Amazon's "Hunters."Christopher Saunders / Amazon

The Auschwitz Memorial criticized Amazon Prime's new show about Nazi hunters Sunday, calling its depiction of the Holocaust "dangerous foolishness."

"Hunters," starring Al Pacino, premiered Friday and chronicles a group of people trying to stop Nazis living in 1970s New York City.

In one scene, the show features a human chess game in a Nazi concentration camp where people die when a piece in the game is eliminated.

The Auschwitz Memorial, which preserves the site of the former German Nazi concentration and extermination camp in Poland, took to Twitter to criticize the scene for its historical inaccuracy and its ramifications.

"Inventing a fake game of human chess for ['Hunters'] is not only dangerous foolishness & caricature. It also welcomes future deniers," the memorial said. "We honor the victims by preserving factual accuracy."

The memorial also criticized Amazon on Friday, calling books it sold "hateful, virulently antisemitic Nazi propaganda."

In a lengthy statement, "Hunters" creator and executive producer David Weil defended the series and the chess scene. "While Hunters is a dramatic narrative series, with largely fictional characters, it is inspired by true events. But it is not documentary. And it was never purported to be," he said.

Weil said the chess scene was intended "to most powerfully counteract the revisionist narrative that whitewashes Nazi perpetration, by showcasing the most extreme — and representationally truthful — sadism and violence that the Nazis perpetrated against the Jews and other victims."

He said "symbolic representations" of the Holocaust allow the audience "to better understand the experiences of the Shoah and provide it with meaning that can address our urgent present."

"I am forever grateful to the Auschwitz Memorial for all of the important and vital work that they do, for keeping the memory of victims and survivors like my grandmother, Sara Weil, alive," Weil said in the statement. "I believe we are very much on the same side and working toward the same goals. And I hope we can continue a dialogue on how to achieve those goals."

NBC News did not receive a response for a request for comment from the Auschwitz Memorial.

The memorial's criticism isn't the first time it has knocked Amazon.

In December, Amazon removed Christmas ornaments and other items like mouse pads from its website that depict the Auschwitz concentration camp following complaints from the memorial and others.