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Oy vey: Holocaust Instagrams

by Toby Axelrod, JTA

November 21, 2013 | 12:18 pm

Smiley selfies from Auschwitz and Buchenwald? They’re trending, apparently.

Blogger Hektor Brehl, writing for the German version of Vice magazine, has a piece about the tendency of young travelers to post pics taken at Holocaust memorials in which they show off their new sneakers and crack “uncool” jokes.

Brehl collected an array of examples. His 25 top offenders include a girl in mittens giving a thumbs-up sign (hashtags: #auschwitz #birkenau… #chilly #willy”), a grinning girl posed so a Jewish star appears to grow out of her head (#juden #arbeitmachtfrei #treblinka #zyklonB #feelgood), a smiling girl posing at the Treblinka memorial in Poland (#Look #cool #hot #treblinka #Poland) and a photo of the Berlin Holocaust memorial with the hashtag #instacaust.

Most of Brehl’s top 25 are girls posing cutely. But he also notes another trend in which gay men trolling for dates post selfies taken at the Berlin memorial.

“Instagram seems to work like a Polaroid filter for some people’s brains,” Brehl concludes, “turning off the #commonsense function.”

He wonders which memorial will be first to post a sign that reads, “Please instagram responsibly.”

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