There's nothing better than a stunning, jaw-dropping Instagram picture that will rack up on likes and comments, but your #AuschwitzSelfie is not one of them. This disturbing trend is quite simply inappropriate, disrespectful, insensitive, and ignorant.
My grandpa was left an orphan at a young age due to the Holocaust, I have friends who have lost one or both parents on 9/11, I know veterans from the Vietnam War. We are all somehow connected to the horrid, unjust events of the world that are commemorated to bring peace or to act as an apology or to simply pay tribute to those who have fallen. And, to see humanity treat these sites of grievance, silence, and healing as photoshoots drives a dagger into my heart. Not only am I disregarded, so too is my family, friends, neighbors, acquaintances, and everyone else in society.
These ignorant Instas impact our entire deteriorating society, and our culture doesn't need any more negative influences.
Pictures are not discouraged at Auschwitz, the 9/11 Memorial, the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe, and many more; nonetheless, there are ethically-oriented, unspoken rules for a picture: respect is more valuable than your Insta feed.
When I stepped on the path that my ancestors were tortured upon at Auschwitz, my heart was so heavy that even as an incredibly emotional being, I couldn't cry. My entire soul was silenced and shaken. My two best friends and I held hands, yet as their tears fell to the sand, I remained numb as I took the scenery in, smelled the musty odor of the bunks, gaped at the tally marks on the walls, and held my breath as I stood in a room encircled with human hair and real people's belongings. I admit I took pictures to remember the poignant moments, but I could never imagine taking any Insta-worthy photos there. I was as white as a ghost and any light in my eyes faded away.
A place representing a human being's suffering is not a jungle gym. In no society are they compatible.
"They are called selfishies. Selfishies" via "Yolocaust."
You're a kind, intelligent, understanding individual, so recognize that you're being a douche as you jump, put a thumbs up, get zen as you stand on your head, slay a provocative pose in front of a memorial. Is it worth it? You are disrespecting the fallen lives that the tribute represents. Imagine the pained families and friends watching you smiling and having a ball in front of their loved ones who have been tortured, traumatized, and murdered. Put yourself in their shoes and take a breath for a moment.
Shahak Shapira's website, "Yolocaust" exposed these injudicious photos and went even further to photoshop the pictures adding horrific scenes in the background revealing the dreadful memories of the past. His works included the "Jumping On Dead Jews @ Holocaust Memorial" man and many other poorly-judged posts found on Facebook, Tinder, Instagram, and Grindr. Shapira's work brought light to a heartless and thoughtless phenomenon as his added shock-factor photoshop skills stood up for those who have undergone severe hardship.
Look, I understand that today's contemporary society is bombarded with the demand for Insta-worthy photos, but consider what the location represents before posing in front of a memorial for a distressing event and the wounded lives, souls, people that correlate.
These were human beings, just like you.