A Facebook page called "With my girlies at Auschwitz," featuring a collection of photos of Israeli teenagers in questionable poses in front of Holocaust sites at the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland, has gotten over 9,000 "Likes" since going up three days ago on Sunday.
The page, a satirical expose of organized Israeli visits to the death camps, especially by high school classes, has sparked fury among Israelis. Many commenters got the point and agreed with it, while others either didn't see the satire or saw it and thought it tasteless.
The page (in Hebrew) includes photos taken on these visits which belie the claim that Israelis are touched deeply by the experience. The photos are accompanied by tongue-in-cheek captions.
One shows a line of high school girls doing a dance step at one of the sites with a caption that reads, "An illustration of pain." Another photo shows a young couple hugging for the camera on the railroad tracks leading to Auschwitz, and is captioned, "Love is pain." Another shows a presumably smiling girl – most of the faces were blanked out at some point – next to a mound of human dust from the ovens, with the caption reading, "And you look prettiest against a background of a mound of dust."
Turning to the organized visits by Israeli companies, the page shows a photo of two people holding up a sign at Auschwitz reading, "Banking Operations Center bows its head in Poland" above the ad slogan, "Bank Hapoalim – being first carries responsibilities!"
Another photo shows a group in matching white caps and blue windbreakers walking behind a man waving an Israeli flag and two men holding up a Bank Leumi banner.
Reactions are divided. Under a photo of a girl meditating on Auschwitz's railroad tracks, captioned "Meditation at Auschwitz," one commenter wrote, "What have we come to? How can you laugh at the Shoah, it's been so forgotten that you allow yourselves to do it."
But another wrote, "This page isn't laughing at the Shoah, it's not laughing at the victims, it's laughing at the people who travel to Poland and show no respect for where they are."
Page creator explains
Late Tuesday night, by which time the page had gone viral, its creator wrote a status explaining her intentions:
"Three years ago I was on a wonderful visit to Poland with friends [not Jews, may God wreak His vengeance on them], and along the way we went to Auschwitz. It was a very powerful experience. The variety of languages and nationalities of the people who came to see the atrocities amazed me. However, many members of the Israeli groups who were there stood out. Group after group were draped in Israeli flags in a belligerent way, and many of them stood for photos in embarrassing poses. I found myself explaining to my European friends [may their names be erased] the meaning of this embarrassing behavior.
"It's hard for me not to be sarcastic on a subject like this, but the pain I feel about the way sectors of this society relate to the Shoah and exploit it cynically is intolerable. It's hard to blame teenagers for the situation when the prime minister inserts the Shoah into every speech for political profit. Let me make it clear that it's not just him, let there be no misunderstanding. Yair Lapid [who is such a hunk] has used the Shoah [by threatening to cancel workers' trips to Poland] against the sanctions by Foreign Ministry employees
"Please 'Like' this page, because if you don't, it's proof that there's a problem with your yearning Jewish soul."
The status ends with a reference to Education Minister Shay Piron's new program to teach the Holocaust in kindergarten:
"A last request to Shay Piron: God has mercy on kindergarten children. Maybe you should too?"
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