Using the Holocaust to make your human-rights point is always perilous.
But one West Hollywood clothing store owner went for it anyway. Fed up with the anti-gay policies of Vladimir Putin's Russia, Nir Zilberman dressed a mannequin in a concentration-camp top adorned with the upside-down pink triangle used by Nazis to identify gays.
The display went up to coincide with the XXII Olympic Winter Games in Sochi:
It hasn't gone unnoticed, with at least one critic telling the Jewish Journal that the display appears to be motivated by marketing and money more than by moral concern.
But Zilberman, the owner of LA Jock, a sportswear store targeting gay men, seems genuine about his convictions. He told us the display, including a newer, second window at the store, will be up until the end of the Olympics Feb. 23.
“A lot of people got really upset,” he said. “I don't need the money. I learned in life you need to do what you need to do to wake up society.”
Zilberman said his parents survived the Holocaust and that he fears gay people in Russia and in Iran could be in for a new wave of similar violence and intolerance.
“We are going backward instead of forward,” he said. “This is not business. This is people's lives we are talking about. How dare we in 2014 we allow this to happen?”
The window display is at 8915 Santa Monica Blvd., West Hollywood.