Holocaust survivors and remembrance organizations object to how younger generation is using TikTok to commemorate victims
A new trend has begun on the TikTok social media platform of young people dressing up as Holocaust victims, ostensibly in an effort to commemorate them. Men and women are using the platform act to out scenes in which they pretend to be Holocaust victims who are now in heaven, who have "smudged" faces, and who are wearing either prison uniforms or rags with the Star of David on them.
Some Holocaust survivors and Jewish organizations are criticizing the dramatizations. The young people, however, are defending themselves by saying they just want to highlight the horrors of Nazism.
"Welcome to Heaven. How did you die? In the gas chambers of Auschwitz," begins just one of the many #holocaust videos posted to TikTok.
The videos frequently use footage of the Auschwitz concentration camp and some use the upbeat pop song "Locked Out of Heaven" by Bruno Mars (which is about sex). A Twitter user named Briana, who is a member of the Ashkenazi Jewish community in Los Angeles, California, used Twitter to highlight the new trend and gave the following statement to Wired magazine: “Most creators are doing [these videos] to hop onto a trend so they can get likes and exposure [but they are] ill informed and woefully ignorant. [...] These kinds of trends are so normalised these days, there’s also a level of shock value content which I think is outdated and in bad taste. This shock value further desensitises viewers to this type of behaviour and normalises this type of harmful content.”
Members of Briana's family were murdered by the Nazis during the Holocaust. She shared one of the videos and tweeted the following message at TikTok: "@tiktok_us did these girls really cosplay a holocaust victim and narrative for a tik tok.. such a callous mockery of the genocide of millions of jews and other marginalized groups, i feel sick #Holocaust #tiktok #holocaustchallenge (more to follow)"
A 17-year-old girl who created one of the videos told the Insider news server that it seemed important to her to communicate the stories of concentration camp victims and that she had not intended to cause offense. The Auschwitz Memorial and Museum has also responded to the new trend, calling the videos hurtful and offensive.
The museum tweeted the following message along with a longer statement on the issue: "The 'victims' trend on TikTok can be hurtful & offensive. Some videos are dangerously close or already beyond the border of trivialization of history. But we should discuss this not to shame & attack young people whose motivation[s] seem very diverse. It's an educational challenge."
The 'victims' trend on TikTok can be hurtful & offensive. Some videos are dangerously close or already beyond the border of trivialization of history.— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) August 26, 2020
But we should discuss this not to shame & attack young people whose motivation seem very diverse. It's an educational challenge. pic.twitter.com/CB4Ve2uRUK
- Commemorative ceremony at Hodonín memorial in Czech Republic 20 August honors Romani and Sinti victims of the Holocaust
- Slovak Prime Minister says the Holocaust and its Romani victims must be remembered so that its "bloody history" will never be repeated
- Slovak President Zuzana Čaputová on the Holocaust and its Romani victims: Romani people are a full-fledged component of our society
- VIDEO: European Roma Holocaust Memorial ceremony at Auschwitz was virtual this year, Slovak and Austrian Presidents spoke
- LIVE BROADCAST Sunday at noon CET: European Roma Holocaust Memorial Day commemoration at Lety u Písku, Czech Republic
- More Czech towns and villages announce they are flying the Romani flag to honor European Roma Holocaust Memorial Day
- European Romani Holocaust Memorial Day marks the murder of more than 4 200 Roma and Sinti by the Nazis on 2-3 August 1944, a death they resisted
- Evening commemoration of European Roma Holocaust Memorial Day 2 August in Czech capital - Leperiben: We Do Not Forget
- Czech website on the Holocaust launches database of victims labeled "cikáni" by the Nazis and their accomplices
- Winning design for new memorial to the Holocaust of the Roma and Sinti in the Czech Republic features enormous circle at the site of the former concentration camp
- The Central Council of German Sinti and Roma is deeply saddened by the death of Holocaust survivor and Roma civil rights activist Raymond Gurême
- Closed commemoration of the Roma victims of the Holocaust at Lety u Písku cultural heritage site
- Associated Press: Holocaust survivors reminded of WWII by COVID-19 pandemic
- Čeněk Růžička: Traditional commemoration for Romani victims of the Holocaust is postponed due to COVID-19
- International competition for new memorial to the Holocaust and its Romani and Sinti victims in Czech Republic has seven finalists
- Grandson of Holocaust survivor says he experiences racism on a daily basis in the Czech Republic
- UK Holocaust commemoration features Romani activist Daniela Abraham, who met with royals
- Director of Museum of Romani Culture addresses Czech Senate on International Holocaust Remembrance Day: We must safeguard our own humanity
- Descendants of Romani victims of the Holocaust and Czech experts discuss commemoration after screening of documentary "LETY"
- Dozens of heads of state and government honoring the memory of Holocaust victims at Auschwitz Memorial today
- Emil Voráč: Romani influencers keep on skirmishing with each other - how do they mesmerize their followers?
- It took the Nazis 90 minutes to approve the "Final Solution", but after the war almost none could remember the Wannsee Conference
- Court in the Netherlands orders far-right politician to delete tweets comparing those avoiding the COVID-19 vaccine to Jews during the Holocaust
- Gunter Demnig marked the Nazi deportation route of thousands of Roma and Sinti from Cologne, Germany, then invented the Stolpersteine
- Slovak Government apologizes for anti-Jewish measures during WWII
- Czech social media response to tornado includes antigypsyist rushes to judgment about Romani workers
- Director of Jewish Museum in Prague responds to commentary by František Kostlán, says its remarks about him are "gossip"
- Even in hell, she chose good: Alfreda Markowska, the Polish Romani woman who saved Jewish and Romani children from the Nazis
- Czech town installs brass tablets in pavement to remember the tragic wartime fate of its Jewish residents
- Czech lower house supports first reading of bill to criminalize deletion of vulgar posts from social media
- Brooke Pavek, an American with Romani roots, has more than 700 000 social media followers
- Czech clergyman proposes the readers themselves choose the names of Holocaust victims to be read on Yom Hashoah this year, whether Jewish or Romani