TikTok creators are pretending to be Holocaust victims in heaven in a new trend dubbed 'trauma porn'


Published by INSIDER.COM

Summary generated on August 24, 2020


    A new disturbing TikTok trend involves young people pretending to be Holocaust victims in heaven.

    In the videos, creators appear to be wearing makeup that imitates burns or bruises while explaining how they died in the Nazi-run death camps.

    Other versions show people acting out well-documented representations of the Jewish genocide during the Second World War, in some cases using the background image of the Auschwitz concentration camps.

    Some creators don the yellow Star of David that Jews were forced to wear or dress up in striped shirts, to mimic the prison camp uniforms of the victims of Hitler's Third Reich.

    The videos, which use hashtags including #Holocaust and #heaven, have been viewed thousands of times on the platform.

    They are part of a wider TikTok genre of point-of-view videos or POVS where users shoot from a first-person perspective, making the viewers the main character of the video.

    The trend has caused an outcry on social media, with one person tweeting: "i'm sad this has become something people think is okay to practice their makeup and acting abilities with."

    The TikTok videos could be an ill-informed attempt to raise awareness around the Holocaust and teach others about its history.

    Rachel*, a 17-year-old from New Jersey who did not want to be named for this story, told Insider that she pretended to be a Holocaust victim in her TikTok video to "Educate people" and because she felt like it "Was important to share these stories."

    The video showed her speaking about how she had been deported to Auschwitz with her family where they were all murdered in the gas chambers.

    "I've always been interested in the history of the Holocaust and just wanted to make a creative video informing people about it on TikTok. It was never intended to be offensive," she added.

    Others view the trend as "Trauma porn" and say its offensive towards people who have family that survived or died in the war.

    Briana, a 17-year-old Jewish woman from Los Angeles, who posted a lengthy thread about the trend on Twitter, told Wired: "Our obsession with trauma porn has only motivated a desire to dramatize these narratives. It can be very triggering for people who have family that either survived or was lost in the war."

    Diane Saltzman, the director of survivor affairs at the US Holocaust Museum, told Insider: "Imitating Holocaust experiences dishonors the memory of the victims, is offensive to survivors and trivializes the history."

    "The Museum encourages everyone, especially young people, to learn about the Holocaust and understand the lessons it holds for us today," she added.

    TikTok declined to comment to Insider about this story.