Art Spiegelman's "Maus" exhibited at Budapest's subway


Jewish mice, Nazi cats and Polish rats - you would not really expect such cartoon characters to appear in front of you when you travel the underground in Budapest. But, in fact, that's what you encounter as artwork from Art Spiegelman's Pulitzer Prize-winning Holocaust graphic novel Maus, based on the experiences of his parents during the Holocaust, has been put on display in Budapest's subway.

Radio Budapest spoke with the press officer of the Budapest Holocaust Memorial Center, Eva Vajda, a few days after the opening of the exhibition:

"The book became a bestseller in the United States and in Western Europe partly because it was so unexpected to use such a style to portray such a serious issue, the Holocaust. We wanted to do something for the 60th anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz concentration camp and so we agreed with quite a successful young-style publisher that they would publish the book by that date and we introduced the book at the Holocaust Memorial Centre on January 27.

We wanted to run a campaign not just about the book but about the issue itself and found that this style, Art Spiegelman's method to draw Jews as mice and the Nazis as cats was quite a good way to attract the young audience, who are not as informed about the issue."

What are your expectations? What do people feel when they look at the exhibits in this unusual environment?

"We do not have high expectations. We wanted to attract attention and we wanted people to ask questions. A few people will think about it and that's really all we wanted to achieve."