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Stranger Things

A petition is gaining steam demanding that Netflix be held accountable for filming its hit series “Stranger Things” in a Nazi prison, which was subsequently turned into themed hotel.

By United with Israel Staff

Streaming giant Netflix is in hot water with the Jewish and Roma communities for using the Lukiškės Prison in Lithuania as a location for its hit sci-fi series “Stranger Things.”

Portions of season four of the the series were filmed inside Vilnius’ Lukiškės Prison, which came to light after the Lithuanian capital’s tourism board touted the factoid in promotional materials.

While the the prison was in operation for around 100 years before it was closed in 2019, it became notorious as a facility where Jews, Roma, and political prisoners were tortured and executed during the Holocaust. In 1941, 348 Lukiškės prisoners, most of them Jews, were murdered in the Ponary Massacre. Around 75,000 victims, most of them Jewish, would eventually be killed at the Ponary site near Vilnius in the months following the initial Ponary massacre, according to Yad Vashem.

After Lukiškės’ closure, the prison was converted into a “cultural center.” Following the filming of Netflix’s hit show, the facilities were turned into am Airbnb-affiliated hotel with a “Stranger Things” cell that guests could rent for about $114 a night.

While the “Stranger Things” prison cell has already reportedly been taken off Airbnb it could “still be spotted on a guided tour,” according to an article in the Sunday Times on July 12.

Israeli leader Menachem Begin was imprisoned at Lukiškės in 1940 for Zionist activity in the Soviet Union. He spent eight months there before being deported to a Soviet penal colony.

In light of the site’s history, the Lithuania Jewish Community and the European Roma Rights Center are demanding that Netflix be held “accountable for their Holocaust erasure.”

The petition explains, “Money earned from this season should be put back into the Jewish and Romani communities of Lithuania as reparations for the damage this season is causing and a public apology from Airbnb, Netflix, and ‘Stranger Things’ should be issued immediately with a full understanding as to how this adds to the erasure of the victims of the Holocaust and the ongoing persecution of Romani communities. We also demand the immediate shut down of the Airbnb.”

The petition continues by noting, “Fans of ‘Stranger Things’ are now getting numerical tattoos on their arms because they are inspired by the show, the ‘Stranger Things’ Instagram has even reposted photos their fans have submitted; thus encouraging their behavior. Not only does this mock the shared trauma of the Jewish and Rroma community, but it further desecrates the living memories of Holocaust survivors (a significant portion are alive today) and their descendants.”