Viral Video of Influencer Posing on Holocaust Memorial Leaves Internet Disgusted

The TikTok account @influencersinthewild captures behind-the-scenes moments of internet influencers taking photos and videos. While audiences are usually privy to the polished post, @influencersinthewild, which also runs an Instagram account, shows how that post comes to be.

The account posted a video last weekend on both platforms of a person posing at the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin. The video shows the unidentified "influencer" sitting on one of the 2,711 concrete slabs that make up the memorial that spans 19,000 square meters, according to VisitBerlin.com.

The decision to create a central memorial site for European Jews killed during the Holocaust was made in 1999. There was competition for who would design the piece, which was won by New York architect Peter Eisenman, according to VisitBerlin. The memorial officially opened in 2005.

In the video, viewers can see passersby staring at the person and the photographer who is capturing the images. Off-camera a voice is heard saying "I'm horrified beyond words."

Comments on the video expressed the same sentiment, calling the act "disrespectful" and "inappropriate."

One commenter wrote on TikTok, "It's giving "Anne Frank would've been a belieber," referencing a 2013 incident when Justin Bieber visited the Anne Frank Museum. He left a note in the guest book that read: "Truly inspiring to be able to come here. Anne was a great girl. Hopefully she would have been a belieber," the BBC reported at the time.

The Associated Press reported this week that Berlin's police chief, Barbara Slowik, apologized after an incident in which officers were pictured practicing push-ups on a part of the same memorial.

According to the report, the images were published by B.Z., a local tabloid, showing uniformed officers leaning on one of the concrete slabs doing the exercise. The paper said they were stills taken from a video captured in May.

"The colleagues' behavior disrespects what this memorial stands for and also offends the memory of those who were murdered," Slowik said.

Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe,TikTok
A video posted to the account @influencersinthewild showed someone posing on one of the 2,711 blocks that make up the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin. Here, some of the blocks can be seen at the memorial on January 27, 2015 in Berlin, Germany. Carsten Koall/Getty Images

Similar incidences of distasteful social media posting have been reported at other sites devoted to honoring and remembering victims of the Holocaust. ABC News reported in 2019 that Auschwitz Museum tweeted asking visitors to think before posing on the railway tracks leading to the building — tracks that were used to transport prisoners to Auschwitz during the war.

"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," the tweet read.

Felizitas Borzym, a spokesperson for the memorial in Berlin told ABC in 2019 that while they do not forbid selfies, if staff spots a person "doing a pose a little too much in the direction of too flashy, employees might mention to the person that this is perhaps not the right place for it while explaining what the memorial represents."

As of 2019, ABC reported, jumping on the stones and other activities that might be considered a safety hazard, were the only activities explicitly forbidden at the memorial.

Newsweek contacted the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe Foundation and @influencersinthewild but they did not respond in time for publication.