To most, the Berlin Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe is a place for quiet reflection, but for others, it’s the perfect Instagram opportunity.
It’s become a problem, and the prevalence of those images moved Israeli author Shahak Shapira to create Yolocaust, a satirical project that takes photos of people flippantly posing, and replaces the backgrounds with the horrific realities of the Holocaust.
Shapira took the pictures from various social media networks, including Facebook, Instagram, Tinder, and Grindr. The project is intended to explore “our commemorative culture by combining selfies from the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin with footage from Nazi extermination camps.”
Upon arriving to the Yolocaust website, people will see the original pictures. But as they hover their mouse over the picture, it’ll transform the background into something out of the actual Holocaust. Shapira decided to leave in the number of likes and reactions that these social media posts received.
The number of visitors to the Berlin Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe continues to rise ever year, with about 475,000 people passing through in 2015. Shapira notes that a lot of people take “goofy” pictures, or do things like jumping and skating on the concrete slabs. There aren’t specific guidelines on what sorts of pictures to take while at the memorial, but it goes without saying that a place like this should be treated with a certain level of respect.
While it’s unfortunate that people turn visiting such an important landmark into an opportunity to get some social media attention, it’s not all that surprising and happens all too often, even with other sensitive places. In 2014, an Alabama teen faced intense criticism after tweeting a selfie at the Auschwitz concentration camp with a smiley face emoji.
Aushwitz also had to ask people to stop visiting simply to catch Pokémon during the Pokémon Go craze.
There’s also no shortage of pictures like the ones that Shapira used for Yolocaust. As of Thursday morning, the top post at the Instagram location for the memorial was a woman posing in a red dress. Her photo’s caption is simply the flamenco dancer emoji and has gotten 1,465 likes.
This isn’t the first project to blast those unaware enough to put a picture of themselves on their dating profile. Back in 2013, the website “Grindr remembers the holocaust” made a similar point by rounding up all the dudes who were using pictures at the memorial in hopes of chatting with some guys.
And for those that were unlucky enough to be put on the website, they can email firstname.lastname@example.org to ask for the removal of their picture. Maybe they’ll think twice next time they hope to get an Instagram out of visiting a memorial.