The Auschwitz Museum released a statement expressing concern over a recent TikTok trend in which users roleplay victims of The Holocaust displaying cosmetic bruises and burns and explaining how they died or what they felt in the Nazi death camps.
The Auschwitz Museum stressed that, while it's important to share personal stories of those imprisoned and murdered during The Holocaust, "we are not allowed to put people in a victim's position".
"The trend visible on TikTok can be indeed hurtful and even considered offensive. Some of the examples online are dangerously close or already beyond the border of trivialization of history and being disrespectful to the victims. Some were not created to commemorate anyone, but to become a part of an online trend", the museum said.
The statement stressed, however, that it does not seek to shame the participants in the trend, instead calling for discussion and increased awareness.
"But we should discuss this not to shame & attack young people whose motivation seems very diverse. It's an educational challenge", the statement said.
The 'victims' trend on TikTok can be hurtful & offensive. Some videos are dangerously close or already beyond the border of trivialization of history.— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) August 26, 2020
But we should discuss this not to shame & attack young people whose motivation seem very diverse. It's an educational challenge. pic.twitter.com/CB4Ve2uRUK
Some of the creators, cited by Wired UK, claim the videos are intended to spread awareness about the tragedy of The Holocaust.
“I’m very motivated and captivated by the Holocaust and the history of World War II,” McKayla, a 15-year-old TikTok user told Wired UK. “I have ancestors who were in concentration camps, and have actually met a few survivors from Auschwitz camp. I wanted to spread awareness and share out to everyone the reality behind the camps by sharing my Jewish grandmother’s story.”
Others, however, echoed concerns raised over the controversial trend, saying that many people use The Holocaust context "for fame".
“There are many young creators who range from about 12 to 16 that use the Holocaust trope for fame. They know it will get views and make them more popular, but most of the time they are not Jewish and it feels as though they are mocking the actual victims of the Holocaust", a user named Tyler, who claims to be Jewish, told the outlet.
Established in 1940, Auschwitz was one of the largest sites in the Nazi prison network, with the death camp seeing over 1.1 million men, women and children intentionally killed between 1940 and 1945.