Auschwitz museum slams disturbing new TikTok trend where people pretend to be Holocaust victims
The Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum has warned that videos posted on the TikTok social media platform of people pretending to be Holocaust victims in heaven were trivialising history and disrespecting the actual victims of Nazi crimes against humanity.
Coming with the hashtag “Holocaust” or “Heaven”, the role-play videos, many of which have been viewed thousands of times, have sparked controversy and led to criticism from around the world.
“The trend visible on TikTok can be indeed hurtful and even considered offensive,” the museum said in a statement issued on Wednesday. “Some of the examples online are dangerously close or are already beyond the border of trivialisation of history and being disrespectful to the victims.
“Some were not created to commemorate anyone, but to become part of an online trend. This is very painful,” the statement added.
The videos, dubbed by some of their critics as “trauma porn”, feature teenagers pretending to be in heaven and acting out Holocaust scenes.
In one short video a teenage girl says she died in the “gas chambers of Auschwitz” while in another a teenage boy pretends to be shot.
Some of the videos use images of the Auschwitz death camp as a backdrop, while in some films the teenagers wear striped clothes in attempts to copy the infamous striped uniforms given to camp prisoners.
Others wear a yellow Star of David on their clothes or don makeup to simulate bruises or starvation in an attempt at graphic effect.
In its statement the museum, however, called for understanding rather than “vilification and shaming”, saying that the “motivation of some people posting the videos seems to come from the need to find some way of expressing personal memory.
“Educators should work with young people to present the facts and stories but also teach and discuss how to commemorate in a meaningful and respectful way,” the statement added.