Some rules of travel etiquette are so obvious, they should not need to be spelled out, but here we go: Visitors to memorials or the sites of tragedies should not, under any circumstances, take grinning selfies, go into a headstand for their yoga-craze Insta followers, or attempt the perfect jump shot — that’s a matter of respect. Apparently, for some tourists to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum, the preserved site of the concentration and extermination camp that is responsible for the death of over 1.1 million children, women, and men, this needs emphasizing.
On Twitter, the Auschwitz Memorial posted a plea to visitors asking them to please stop balancing on the Auschwitz train tracks for pictures.
When you come to @AuschwitzMuseum remember you are at the site where over 1 million people were killed. Respect their memory. There are better places to learn how to walk on a balance beam than the site which symbolizes deportation of hundreds of thousands to their deaths. pic.twitter.com/TxJk9FgxWl
Responses to the tweet have been largely positive, echoing the need for a proper show of consideration. “Our picture taking habits are completely out of control,” said Francesca, one respondant. “I don’t understand why people use Auschwitz as a photo op,” said another, “or how they take cheerful selfies at a site that saw the muder of thousands of innocent people.”
The Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum calls for solemnity and humbleness in the face of some of the worst atrocities ever carried out. Put away the phone, observe, and respect.