There have been several instances around the world when LEGO was used as a medium for impressive diorama displays: the anniversary of Australia’s Parliament House, the recreation of an ancient Scottish fort and other historic or artistic exhibits. Sometimes these displays are positively received; other times they could draw controversy. The latter became the case during the Madrid LEGO Exhibit, entitled as “I Love LEGO” building exhibition held this week at Gaviria Palace in Madrid, Spain. One display, a diorama of soldiers accosting a village, was slammed by an Israeli diplomat to the country as having anti-Semitic undertones, despite the exhibit description being a dramatization of anti-Nazi reprisal actions post-WWII.
Titled “Operation Vengeance”, this diorama at Gaviria Palace’s “I Love LEGO” event supposedly captures an event wherein armed soldiers attacked the town of Priuli, northern Italy in 1945 due to it being home of Nazi sympathizers during the German occupation.
The minifigure soldiers attacking the townspeople, plus their transport truck, were emblazoned with Israeli flags, something Assaf Moran, Deputy Chief of Mission at the Israeli Embassy in Spain, called out this Tuesday as a historical fallacy.
According to Moran, who visited the Madrid LEGO exhibit, the soldiers who took part in the 1945 attack on Priuli shouldn’t be wearing the flag of Israel because it didn’t exist until 1948; most likely these anti-Nazi soldiers should have been in British uniform. In addition, Moran decried the imagery of “Israeli soldiers” pointing firearms at civilians, Nazi sympathizers or otherwise, as misleading to the public, portraying Israel as a “violent and aggressive nation”.
Following this protest on behalf of the Israeli embassy, the event organizers of the Madrid LEGO Exhibit had the diorama altered to remove the Israeli flags therein. The I Love LEGO exhibit remains on Gaviria Palace for visitors until February 24, 2019.