Holocaust Tourism

January 21, 2012 at 8:23 pm | Posted in History, Holocaust, The History Boys, Uncategorized | Leave a comment
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Poland is trying to make Wolf’s Lair, one of Hitler’s Eastern European dwellings, a tourist destination. Concentration camps and other more artistic memorials to the Holocaust are one thing, but one of Hitler’s houses is quite another.  Can you imagine trying to explain to your colleagues the origins of your boutique hotel?

In The History Boys, there is a scene in which holocaust tourism is debated.  Hector, the boys’ eccentric General Studies teacher, wonders what happens when students visit the camps: do they eat their lunches there? Do they take photos? And if so, are they smiling in the photos?

I’ve been thinking about all this after I read Richard Morrison’s column in Times 2 yesterday.  He mentions a noisy ice cream van inappropriately parked outside Mauthausen labour camp, and it reminded me of my visit to Dachau when I was sixteen. I found it completely bizarre and almost eerie that a man should choose to jog round the perimeter of a former concentration camp.

I can’t tell you what is appropriate behaviour at Auschwitz. But I can tell you what isn’t.

http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/opinion/columnists/richardmorrison/article3292109.ece

 

 

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