This is Reading List #19, a selection of recent Holocaust-related news stories and links from around the internet.
Wired investigates the trend for TikTok creators to feature Auschwitz in their so-called “point-of-view” videos. Teenage users have been roleplaying victims in videos that are part of a wider trend for content involving fictional scenarios. As Wired reports, such trends spread very quickly and videos participating in them accumulate millions of views and thousands of likes, but other viewers are disturbed by the appropriation of Holocaust imagery and the shallow engagement with the subject.
The death of Holocaust survivor Gabor Hirsch has been announced (Swissinfo). He was 90. Born in 1929 in Hungary, Hirsch was deported to Auschwitz at the age of 14. He narrowly escaped murder in the camp’s gas chambers after an SS officer spotted him in a group being sent to the death and pulled him out on the grounds that he could work. He was liberated by Soviet soldiers from the camp in January 1945, after which he was reunited with his father in Budapest. He left Hungary in 1956 at the time of the Soviet suppression of Imre Nagy’s attempt to liberalise the country’s government. Later in life, he worked to win reparations for survivors and connect with others who had experienced similar hardships to himself.
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German and Israeli fighter jets have participated in a fly-by over Dachau concentration camp, as a symbol of cooperation and friendship (DW). The aircraft performed the maneuver as part of a joint exercise intended to reaffirm military and diplomatic links between the two countries. Israeli jets have in the past overflown Auschwitz, though relations between Poland, where the remains of the Nazi-era camp are situated, have been somewhat turbulent in recent years.
Holocaust-denial and antisemtitic graffiti has been found at the abandoned French village of Oradour-sur-Glane, prompting the Justice minister to vow to find and punish those responsible (Guardian). The village was destroyed and its population massacred by German forces in 1944, in retribution for actions by the resistance movement. Since then, the site has served as a memorial for the worst violence committed by Nazi occupiers against the French population. Graffiti scrawled around the site included the word “lie”, seen as a reference to the extreme belief held by deniers that the Holocaust was fabricated.
The JC reports on the doctor and Holocaust survivor who blew the whistle on a 1950s pregnancy test drug and paid the price for outing its negative effects. Isabel Gal raised concerns about the drug Primodos more than half a century ago, but her daughter has told Sky News journalists that her career suffered as a result. The story has come to light thanks to a documentary released by Sky, which is available via Now TV in the UK.
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