The Holocaust Memorial in Berlin has become an icon. If you visit the area in person, you’ll find hundreds of tourists documenting the surreal and silent landscape with their cameras.
Rows and rows of concrete, create a stark and sombre environment that is both fascinating to photograph yet extremely eerie to experience.
What many people seem to forget while touring this site, is that it’s a mass grave marker. A commemoration of the 6 million Jews that were brutally murdered in the Holocaust.
All those goofy, sexy, or generally flippant selfies being taken there are incredibly disrespectful. But due to a general lack of knowledge and awareness, these selfies pop up everywhere: Instagram, Facebook, Tinder, and Grindr.
When Israeli satirist and author Shahak Shapira noticed the trend, he was highly disturbed. He had to do something about it.
In order to educate people as to why these gimmicky photos are inappropriate, Shapira combines them with real Holocaust footage. He calls the series “Yolocaust”. The results speak for themselves.
“Over the last years, I noticed an interesting phenomenon at the Holocaust memorial in Berlin: people were using it as a scenery for selfies. So I took those selfies and combined them with footage from Nazi extermination camps,” Shapira explains.
“About 10,000 people visit the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe every day. Many of them take goofy pictures, jump, skate or bike on the 2,711 concrete slabs of the 19,000 m² large structure,” he says.
“The exact meaning and role of the Holocaust Memorial are controversial. To many, the grey stelae symbolize gravestones for the 6 Million Jews that were murdered and buried in mass graves, or the grey ash to which they were burned to in the death camps.”
It’s easy to shame the people who took these pictures. But honestly, we’re all probably guilty of making light of the Holocaust or some other tragedy. This series is a startling reminder to consider the impact of your actions, even if they don’t directly affect you or your friends.
Find more information about the “Yolocaust” project here.