'Outrageous' Jews for Jesus holocaust video removed

A video that shows Jesus being sentenced to death at a Nazi concentration camp has been removed from the Australian Jews for Jesus website after generating outrage across the world.

Entitled 'That Jew died for you', the 3 minute clip shows Jewish people arriving at a labour camp and being assigned either to work, or to the gas chamber.

A Jesus-like figure, carrying a cross, is then sentenced to the showers as a Nazi spits out the words "Just another Jew" with an eerie smile.

Jews for Jesus, which employs around 200 people and says the video hopes "to help redefine the conversation and reshape views of Jesus".

"With recent anti-Semitic events in Kansas City and Ukraine, our YouTube video 'That Jew Died For You' is needed more than ever because it offers a message of hope in times of despair," explained executive director David Brickner.

"We want Jewish people to understand that the sufferings inflicted at the hands of the Nazi's were in no way based on the teachings of Jesus. In fact, he suffered and died on our behalf to show us the love of God," added associate executive director Susan Perlman.

"While the Holocaust evokes dark despair, we want Jewish people to know that God still has a message of hope," she told the Christian Post.

The film, which had more than a million hits on YouTube, sparked huge controversy, with many commentators labelling it "insensitive" and "offensive".

Blogger Jay Michaeleson deemed it "The most tasteless YouTube video ever".

"It's hard to fathom who thought this project would be a good idea," he wrote. "Any Jew with personal, familial, or even historical memories of the Holocaust will immediately find it to be an outrage. Not to state the obvious, but it desecrates the memory of six million Jews to use their suffering as a way to convert Jews to Christianity.

"The film is an insensitive, blundering effort to leverage Jewish tragedy into Jewish converts. Ironically, it is so offensive that I think it could be used to keep Jews Jewish."

Warren Fineberg, executive director of Melbourne's Jewish Holocaust Centre, branded the video "an unconscionable affront, in particular to the survivors of the Holocaust" and "a blot on the memory of the victims" in an interview with the Australian Jewish News (AJN).

"To conflate the Holocaust with the Christian belief of the suffering of Jesus does an injustice to Jews and Christians and the many others who were persecuted and murdered at the hands of the Nazis," he added.

President of the Association of Holocaust Survivors and Descendants in Sydney George Foster agreed that the "appalling" clip trivialises the horrific experiences of those sent to concentration camps during WWII.

"I'm sure survivors would be quite distressed at the conflation of Jesus with the Holocaust," he said.

In response to these comments, Jews for Jesus Australia has since removed the video from its website.

"We are sincerely sorry for any hurt which some experienced thinking we were intentionally aggravating haunting memories," Bob Mendelsohn of Jews for Jesus in Sydney told AJN.

"Many on our worldwide staff have too many relatives who perished in the camps to have intended that aggravation."

Despite the controversy, the video is still being promoted on the homepage of both the UK and US Jews for Jesus sites. Check it out for yourself below: