Cheeks artificially sunken in make-up, a 15-year-old girl fixes the lens with a penetrating look, a piece by American singer Bruno Mars plays in the background. In the text that scrolls on the screen, she explains that she will soon be deported to a concentration camp. In the following video, a teenager in striped pajamas fakes his arrival and talks about his murder in the Auschwitz gas chamber.

Holocaust re-enactments were a huge success on TikTok in August 2020 and caused a scandal. Teenagers climbed into the shoes of the victims and, to the music, told how they found their death in concentration camps. Practice qualified as “harmful and inappropriate” the Auschwitz memorial, and yet became very popular among the youth of generation Z (ages 14-24).

It was not about offending anyone, but about making platform users aware of the history of the Holocaust, a young Tiktoker defended herself at the time. But almost everyone seemed to agree on one point: Holocaust educational content has no place in an app famous for its dance mini-videos.

Not enough textbooks

Two years later in Hamburg. It’s one of those hot summer days that rarely happens in northern Germany. Summer holidays have arrived, the weather is ideal for a beach holiday, but 21-year-old David Gutzeit and his younger sister Jonna did not go by car to watch the sea, but left the shores of the Baltic Sea to get to Neuengamme. concentration camp memorial [à environ 25 kilomètres de Hambourg] now stand in bright sunlight in front of a pile of carefully assembled stones.

The installation pays tribute to the more than 100,000 people from all over Europe who were imprisoned in the camp or one of its more than 85 outbuildings by the Nazi regime. Half of them did not return. “Many young people come here after seeing our TikTok videos” explains Iris Groshek. she him