Yolocaust: selfies taken at the Holocaust Memorial

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2017/01/19/yolocaust-selfies-taken-at-th.html


I wanted to comment on that annoying title, before I realized… that’s the whole point. Well done!


Like, who cares about a bunch of old dead dudes? #QuitBringingMeDown


I’m going to assume a disproportionate usage of #blessed :confused:


So, you’ve been publicly shamed.


Some of these stretch the definition of “selfie” (pretty sure the juggler didn’t take that photo himself) but I’ll accept the term anyway since it accurately captures the clueless self-indulgence on display.


Damn, that’s a pretty powerful statement via some simple Photoshop.

I love how she has an option for perps who took the original disrespectful photos to remove them from her site;



The FAQ section does offer an opportunity for said people to at least partially redeem themselves:

Q: “I’m on one of the pictures and suddenly regret having uploaded it to the internet. Can you remove it?”
A: Yes. Just send an email to undouche.me@yolocaust.de

[ETA: @Melizmatic beat me to it]




Nuh uh.


I like the mouseovers on the website.

There are a couple of images that I think are okay. Just taking selfies there is probably no big deal, but I don’t get the weird poses. The “jumping on dead Jews” picture was obviously intended to be offensive.


Wow kids are fucking stupid… or rather cruel. I do wonder if some of these people don’t actually know where they are or even what the holocaust is.

On a side note, it would be interesting to see something like this as an augmented reality app… What atrocities happened at your favorite brunch spot bro?


This kind of memorial does all sorts of things to different people, much like the death of loved ones causes unpredictable reactions that can even seem distasteful - I’ve been with people who laugh about a parent dying, then weep an hour later.

I’ve been to the memorial in Paris, and it’s beyond sombre, but delivered a space for kind of clean, accurate and thoughtful reflection, to me. I was amazed that architecture and environment could do that to me. I’m not Jewish, but my family suffered badly through both world wars.

That said - clearly most of these are beyond improper and distasteful. The jumping photo is revolting.

The ‘regular selfies’ appear sad; but people really don’t know what to do with themselves in the midst of this, and may default to ‘programmed’ behaviour. The oriental crew seem unmoved; were I to know they were (if they were) from Nanjing, I might not take surprise at that - massacre in the '30s.

But to visit such a memorial, I don’t think you can be untouched unless you’re a true psychopath. Which is the point of the architecture and arrangement around you - you cannot ignore what it is, and will carry it for life.

But bravo to this gent and his website. But I hope he is cogniscent of the many and varied influences such a place creates.




The memorial conveys its message in a very abstract way. That this is not accessible to everyone is not surprising. The architect himself once said “This is a place of no meaning”. I live in Berlin, when I visit that site it doesn’t speak to me at all, unlike other memorials. Critics have called the memorial “laughable”, “arbitrary” and “cheap”. So, yeah, tourists do take photos, and young people are often irreverent, do not take things seriously, and behave in disrespectful ways. But 99% of selfie takers probably wouldn’t act like that if photos like the ones used by Shapira were actually present at the site, or anything that conveys a feeling other than this being another place of arbitrary, post-modern randomness. The Jewish Museum in Berlin, designed by Libeskind, with its “Holocaust Tower” does a much better job at conveying an actual sense of terror. Eisenman’s work just doesn’t. Which might have been a factor in why it was picked over other proposed designs.


I have seen thoughtless German tourists climbing over Neolithic monuments in Malta, and equally thoughtless British and Americans writing on the stones of Stonehenge (in the days when you could get that close.) A significant portion of the public of any country lacks empathy, curiosity and education. I completely agree that people shouldn’t do these things, but if a memorial is so free of context it really isn’t surprising that they will. You can’t expect a generation that never knew WW2 to contextualise the Holocaust in the absence of explanation, any more than it made sense to say to those Germans “You must surely know, this is an important ancient monument and you are damaging the carvings” when, in those days, there were no railings or explanatory material. (I did tell them, just the same, and they were embarrassed.)
The Israeli writer has a right to make her juxtapositions but they are in very poor taste too and, I think, likely to be counterproductive. Sometimes subtlety is a lot more effective than brute force. Restaging in a cemetery rather than piles of corpses would have conveyed the same idea.


Of course if someone decides to photograph themselves streaking through the memorial it will end up looking natural in the photoshopped historical-context photo.

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People in general are thoughtless, especially if they have no connection to the thing or place that is supposed to be revered. This includes such things as goths at a cemetery, talking/crossing the ropes at the Tomb of the Unknown soldier, various antics at ancient cathedrals, vandalizing ancient pictographs, vandalizing or damaging ancient monuments or architecture, anything less than somber and respective at something like the Holocaust museum or maybe the 9/11 museum. I mean, you came there - it isn’t like it intruded on your life unwanted.

Heck, even beyond things that command some respect, but just basic human decency like
not tearing up a rented house, returning what you borrow, and not removing your shoes in a crowded public place is often hard to find. Too many people tend to not be able to see past themselves.


Simply taking a photo of or near a memorial isn’t that big a deal. Selfies are now kind of an automatic method of memory-making, and I find the general trend to pathologize anything younger people do to be incredibly boring, if nothing else. Not to mention the annoying trend of calling photographs of people selfies when they’re clearly taken by someone other than the subject.

That said, I wasn’t anticipating the level of nincompoopery on display there. I admit to a certain baseline level of vanity that is a healthy form of self-love, but ugh… the preening. Like I said, I understand the compulsion to take a picture of yourself at a solemn place, since you might want to remember how you felt and what you thought. It’s the way they’re so clearly framed for self-affirming consumption by others that I find to be disturbing.

ETA: I’m really glad I mouseovered the photos before I passed that on to Jewish friends… I think that might merit a warning.


The Yellow Creek massacre was a brutal killing of several Mingo Indians by Virginia frontiersmen on April 30, 1774. The atrocity occurred across from the mouth of the Yellow Creek on the upper Ohio River in the Ohio Country, near the current site of the Mountaineer Casino, Racetrack and Resort. It was the single most important incident contributing to the outbreak of Lord Dunmore’s War (May-October 1774). It was carried out by a group led by Jacob Greathouse and Daniel Greathouse. The perpetrators were never brought to justice.