The Auschwitz Memorial is speaking out against visitors taking disrespectful photos at the Holocaust site, calling for people to respect the memory of those who were killed.
On Wednesday, the memorial tweeted four photos of people using the train tracks leading into Auschwitz as a balance beam, a pose often seen in aesthetically pleasing, “inspirational” type Instagrams. However, usually, when people take pictures like this, they’re not walking on tracks that were used to forcibly transport thousands of people to their systemic torture and genocide.
“When you come to @AuschwitzMuseum remember you are at the site where over 1 million people were killed. Respect their memory,” the memorial tweeted. “There are better places to learn how to walk on a balance beam than the site which symbolizes deportation of hundreds of thousands to their deaths.”
When you come to @AuschwitzMuseum remember you are at the site where over 1 million people were killed. Respect their memory. There are better places to learn how to walk on a balance beam than the site which symbolizes deportation of hundreds of thousands to their deaths. pic.twitter.com/TxJk9FgxWl— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) March 20, 2019
Some people were shocked and offended by the images, while others felt it was a scary reminder of our photo-op culture.
I don’t understand why people use Auschwitz as a photo op or how they take cheerful selfies in front of a site that saw the murder of thousands of innocent people. I just can’t wrap my head around that one.— Morgan Blythe (@tippotate) March 20, 2019
Amazing. How anyone could crack a smile within miles of that place is beyond me.— Take a stand (@dailypaint) March 20, 2019
The Auschwitz Memorial later clarified that it is not banning photography but is simply asking visitors to behave respectfully, including when it comes to taking pictures. It also recommended that people check out the Instagram account for the Auschwitz Memorial “to see how images can commemorate victims & teach difficult and emotional history of #Auschwitz.”
Looking at Auschwitz’s Instagram, it doesn’t take long to see the many differences between the photos people were taking on the tracks versus the ones featured there. While the train track pictures are about the visitor, respectful pictures instead reflect on the memory of the victims.