Shalom Life | January 29, 2015

Just For Laughs’ Baby Hitler Poster Approved by Jews

Montreal’s show “Le prenom” approved by B’nai Brith

By: Ashley Baylen

Published: July 13th, 2012 in Culture » Society » News

Just For Laughs’ Baby Hitler Poster Approved by Jews

The Just For Laughs Festival received quite a bit of scolding from Jewish organizations regarding a poster for the show “Le prenom” that featured a photo of a cute, wide-eyed baby wearing a Hitler moustache. But the comedy festival chose not to remove all the posters throughout Montreal, and instead invited B’nai Brith Canada to attend the production before making a final judgment.

When B’nai Brith Canada first noticed the show’s poster, they claimed it rekindled dark memories for many of its’ members including Holocaust survivors. The organization asked that all posters for “Le prenom” (“The First Name”) be removed immediately.

A few members of the organization, including Steven Slimovitch, accepted Just For Laughs’ offer to see the show. After realizing the subject matter, the organization has changed its’ view of both the show and the poster.

"We're very much relieved by the fact that the show is essentially a condemnation of hatred, it's a condemnation of racism," B'nai Brith spokesman Steven Slimovitch said Thursday.

"Although perhaps we wouldn't have chosen that type of poster, we can understand where it came from and the important thing is the message and the message is that hatred is unacceptable."

‘Le prenom” is a Quebec adaptation of a play originally produced in France. It “revolves around the unfortunate choice of a name for a baby by a first-time father,” reports City TV.

Andy Nulman, Just For Laughs Festival President, not only approved the poster, but also explains that Jews have been satirizing Hitler for years.

"We understand it's a striking and controversial image but that's why we chose it, to be striking and controversial and bring attention to a very, very popular play," Nulman, who is Jewish himself, began.

"The fact of being able to laugh at one's oppressor empowered the Jews… This basically is more of the same. It comes from a very, very strong tradition in history," Nulman says in regards to Mel Brooks making “The Producers” and Jews spoofing Hitler during the Holocaust renaming him Horowitz.

The controversial poster remains up in Montreal.

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