David Weil, the creator of Amazon Prime's "Hunters," defended the use of fictionalized Holocaust violence in his show about a group of vigilantes who hunt down surviving World War II Nazis in 1970s America, saying that he did not want to depict a "specific moment in an actual person's life" in the show's scenes.
The series "is a dramatic narrative series, with largely fictional characters, Weil, whose grandmother survived the Auschwitz concentration camp, said in a statement, reports Newsweek. "It is inspired by true events. But it is not a documentary. And it was never purported to be."
The series launched to complaints from critics, including the Auschwitz Memorial, about its fictionalized depiction of some of the horrors Jewish prisoners endured at the concentration camps. One scene that came under fire involved Al Pacino, portraying the group's leader, describing a flashback at a game of human chess, showing guards forcing inmates to kill one another.
Weil, however, said that he took care not to recreate events that referenced real-life people, including the decision that all survivors depicted in the series would be given identification number tattoos above the number 202,499, the highest-recorded number tattooed on an Auschwitz prisoner.
"That was the responsibility that weighed on me every night and every morning for years, while writing, producing, editing this show," said Weil. "It is the thing I go to sleep thinking about and the thing I wake up working to honor."
The chess game scene, he said, was "representationally truthful" the torture the Nazis perpetrated.
"We can and should" be able to "tell stories about the Holocaust that are not documentary," said Weil. "Symbolic representations provide individuals access to an emotional and symbolic reality that allows us to better understand the experiences of the Shoah and provide it with meaning that can address our urgent present."
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