Australia's Holocaust survivor community were outraged by a film implying that Jesus was not a messiah but one of the Jews who died in the Holocaust.
The film titled 'That Jew Died For You' was released prior to the Jewish' Yom Hashoah. A particular scene depicted Jesus carrying a large wooden cross, entering the "Arbeit Macht Frei" gates at the entrance to Auschwitz for a "shower" session by a Nazi SS officer. The officer referred to Jesus as "Just another Jew."
A copy of the short film was posted via YouTube and to date has acquired more than 1.3 million views and sparked debates from people across countries and religious beliefs.
In an interview with The Australian Jewish News, Bob Mendelsohn of Jews for Jesus Australia explained that the film was not created to make the Holocaust trivial nor hurt the feelings of those who survived.
"Our whole point is to communicate and if that's preventing communication then I'll do whatever I have to help people listen to what we're really trying to say. [The video is] not being used to promote Jews for Jesus. What we're saying is that Jesus, the Jewish messiah, died for our sins, rose from the dead. Our intention was far from to disturb or cause more angst," Mr Mendelson said.
However, in a separate interview, the executive director of Melbourne's Jewish Holocaust Centre, Warren Fineberg, said that the short film was indeed a spite to the Holocaust surviviors.
"This video, broadcast at that time of the year when Klal Yisrael mourns the victims of the Shoah is an unconscionable affront, in particular to the survivors of the Holocaust and is a blot on the memory of the victims. 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," Mr Fineberg said.
For George Foster, president of the Association of Holocaust Survivors and Descendants in Sydney, the film is appalling and inflammatory.
"Using the Holocaust as a vehicle, is, I think, appalling really. I'm sure survivors would be quite distressed at the conflation of Jesus with the Holocaust. They would see it as perhaps as a trivialisation of their experience."
Surprisingly, a son to Holocaust survivors Bernhard Rosenberg, described the short film as a 'Film of Compassion.'
Writing for The Christian Post, Mr Rosenberg said that he shares the belief that the film explored.
"I do not believe that Jesus was the Messiah, but I do believe he was a Jew. I am completely non-judgmental with regards to anyone's religious observances. I do not agree with those who are attacking the video showing Jesus carrying a cross and being sent to the showers from the gates to Auschwitz ... If Jesus were at Auschwitz he would have been murdered just for being a Jew ... But I think their intent was not to harm our Jewish people but to depict Jesus as the observant Jew he was. The historical Jesus was a devout Jew."
Makers of the film explained that their intention was to correct the misconception that Jesus was associated among the people responsible for the Holocaust.
"Jesus has often been wrongly associated with the perpetrators of the Holocaust. In reality, he is to be identified with those who were the victims. As a Jew, if he were in Europe at the time, Jesus may well have suffered the same fate of the six million who perished in the concentration camps," as written from the makers' Web site.