How tasteless is it to take selfies at a Holocaust memorial site? Some people might think it’s not necessarily a bad thing to do, while others might consider it to be absolutely deplorable. Shahak Shapira, born in Israel and moved to Germany at age 14, is making a case that it’s not the best idea.
Because of his unfortunate family history (one grandfather barely survived the Holocaust, while the other one got shot in the 1972 Munich massacre) Shapira has always been very sensitive to issues of racism and discrimination. He became a German celebrity in 2015 after he was beaten up for trying to film youths singing anti-Semitic songs on the subway, and has been trying to use his fame to address injustice ever since.
“Yolocaust” has been Shapira’s latest attempt to do so, a website where he retouched the twelve most popular selfies (found on Facebook, Instagram, Tinder and Grindr) taken at Holocaust memorials into actual Holocaust photos. He claimed that he was “exploring our commemorative culture,” but had a clear underlying opinion. He said that he would delete pictures if the people in them suddenly felt regret, given they send an email to email@example.com.
The project quickly went viral. Within days people started sending requests to be “undouched,” and Shapira kept his promise. In just a week, his website was visited over 2.5 million times, eventually reaching everyone whose selfies Shapira had chosen and bringing the project to an end.
We dusted off our German language skills and reached out to Shapira, but never got a response. He did post a statement on his website, claiming how almost all of the 12 people who’s selfies were presented “understood the message, apologized and decided to remove their selfies from their personal Facebook and Instagram profiles.” There’s also a selection of reactions.
What do you think about Shapira’s project, and what’s your opinion on taking selfies at places like this? Let us know in the comments below!