In news that surprises nobody, a trend has emerged on TikTok that is incredibly offensive. The social media trend involves users role-playing as Holocaust victims, recounting how they perished and even occasionally showing off fake bruises or wearing armbands. The Auschwitz museum in particular has taken offense to the trend, calling it “hurtful & offensive” in a tweet and imploring people to not trivialize history.
The 'victims' trend on TikTok can be hurtful & offensive. Some videos are dangerously close or already beyond the border of trivialization of history.
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
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) August 26, 2020
The tweet includes an official statement, which says, “The stories of people who were imprisoned and murdered in Auschwitz are incredibly tragic, painful, and emotional. It is crucial to share the individual stories to commemorate and educate. It’s also important to place the stories within the context of accuracy and respect. We also need to remember about ethical challenges and psychological dangers of role playing while teaching about this history. While it is essential to use personal stories, we are not allowed to put people in a victim’s position.”
The statement goes on to say that “The trend visible on TikTok can be indeed hurtful and even considered offensive. Some of the examples online are dangerously close or are already beyond the border to trivialization of history and being disrespectful to the victims,” but cautions against shaming or attacking the young people responsible for the trend. Instead, the museum advocates educating them and promoting a culture of respect.