Amazon criticized for 'Hunters', anti-Semitic books

BROADCAST AND DIGITAL RESTRICTIONS~**

Broadcasters: FOR USE OF "HUNTERS" TRAILER CLIPS MUST COURTESY AMAZON PRIME VIDEO WITH NO ARCHIVE USE AND NO RESALES Digital: FOR USE OF "HUNTERS" TRAILER CLIPS MUST COURTESY AMAZON PRIME VIDEO WITH NO ARCHIVE USE AND NO RESALES.

[UPSOUND, "HUNTERS"]

Controversy on Sunday over the new Amazon Prime series "Hunters" - which boasts Al Pacino in his first regular TV series role as the head of a squad of New Yorkers hunting for Nazis in 1970s America.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) ACTOR, AL PACINO, SAYING:

"Some times it's very funny, sometimes it's tongue-in-cheek, sometimes it's horrifying."

Pacino told Reuters he was drawn to the show's originality - and credited creator David Weil, who said the series was meant to honor his grandmother, a Holocaust survivor.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) SHOW CREATOR, DAVID WEIL, SAYING:

And so "Hunters" is really a love letter to her. It's this desire to propel her story forward into this next generation and to educate people on what the Holocaust is and what people went through so that we can try and prevent this from ever happening again."

But the Auschwitz Memorial, which works to preserve the site of the former German Nazi concentration camp, criticized Amazon on Sunday for some of the show's fictitious depictions of the Holocaust - such as a game of human chess in which people are killed when a piece is taken.

In a tweet, the Auschwitz Memorial wrote: "Auschwitz was full of horrible pain & suffering documented in the accounts of survivors. Inventing a fake game of human chess for ["Hunters] @huntersonprime is not only dangerous foolishness & caricature. It also welcomes future deniers. We honor the victims by preserving factual accuracy."

Some reviewers have also criticized "Hunters" for taking liberties and for its often comic-book-like tone.

A writer from Vox called it 'torture porn for neo-Nazis' adding, 'As I watched 'Hunters', I worried that the show might be far more effective at titillating and arousing Nazi sympathizers than it is at speaking to the Jewish community."

More than 1.1 million people, most of them Jews, perished at Auschwitz in gas chambers or from starvation, cold and disease.

Seventy-five years after the liberation of the death camp, world leaders and activists have called for action against rising anti-Semitism.

The Auschwitz Memorial also criticized Amazon last week for selling anti-Semitic books, and asked that anti-Semitic children's books by Nazi Julius Streicher, who was executed for crimes against humanity, be removed from sale.

In a comment emailed to Reuters, an Amazon spokesperson said, "As a bookseller, we are mindful of book censorship throughout history, and we do not take this lightly. We believe that providing access to written speech is important, including books that some may find objectionable."

Amazon said it would comment on "Hunters" later.