Doing Selfies in Auschwitz?

Selfies machen in Auschwitz?

When young American Breanna Mitchell posted a selfie on Twitter in June 2014 of herself in front of the barracks of the concentration camp in Auschwitz with the caption: “Selfie in the Auschwitz Concentration Camp 🙂”, she might not have expected the consequences both the message and the picture would cause.[1] At first her selfie remained fairly unnoticed by the Twitter community, but then a storm of protest erupted and “Princess Breanna” – as she calls herself on Twitter – even received death threats.


Warmest Greetings from Auschwitz

Tourist photos of and in concentration camps and memorials undoubtedly existed in the analogue world, and postcards with Auschwitz motifs were already sent by visitors of the site in the 1950s and 1960s, often with typical and quite profane greetings, e.g.: “Darlings! Best and warmest greetings from Auschwitz, Hania. P.S. The weather’s playing tricks, first the sun shines, then it rains”.[2] So to…

Categories: 7 (2019) 25

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  1. To all our non-German speaking readers we recommend the automatic DeepL-Translator for 8 European languages. Just copy and paste.

    Als ich Auschwitz zum ersten Mal besuchte, gab es noch keine Handykameras, welche die Idee des Sichselberfotographierens förderten.
    Wenn ich mir vorstelle, mit einer Schulklasse ein KZ zu besuchen, dann habe ich die Idee, genau dieses Thema mit den Schüler*innen anzusprechen. Das Selfie rückt bereits grafisch das Selbst vor das Objekt. Ich war hier. Das Wo ist sekundär. Ich ist im Zentrum. Das soll man auf Schloss Neuschwanstein oder der Karlsbrücke tun.

    Der Besuch eines KZs möchte vom Selbst wegkommen, und den Schüler*innen zeigen, dass so viele andere ermordet wurden. Da muss das Selbst zurückstehen. Erst in der Aufarbeitung des Besuchs kommt das Selbst hinein, im der empathischen Nachempfindung. Davon kann man kein Foto machen.

  2. Editorial Note on Allegations of Plagiarism in the Article of Stefanie Samida

    On July 5, 2019, Dr. Zalewska contacted Prof. Krzysztof Ruchniewicz and Ms. Dominika Uczkiewicz and on July 7, 2019 the editorial board of Public History Weekly regarding an article by Dr. Samida that was published at Public History Weekly in No 7 (2019) 25 on July 4 ( Dr. Zalewska claimed that this article represents a case of plagiarism of her own work, published as “Selfies from Auschwitz: Rethinking the Relationship between Spaces of Memory and Places of Commemoration in the Digital Age,” (Studies in Russian, Eurasian and Central European New Media, 2017), 95-116. Dr. Zalewska also disclosed the allegations on Twitter and Facebook, therefore we feel obliged to publicly inform about our reaction to this allegations.

    On behalf of the Executive Board, the Editorial Board of Public History Weekly as well as the Publisher De Gruyter, we would like to assure everybody that we take this allegation very serious and that we took all steps that we found necessary and helpful to clarify the validity of the allegation in question. We did proceed as follows:

    First, we asked Dr. Stefanie Samida to comment on the accusation.
    Secondly, the publisher carried out a machine analysis of the text to determine whether it was plagiarised.
    Thirdly, we examined and reviewed the text of Dr. Samida a second and third time and conducted a detailed analysis of our editorial review process to ensure to not miss out any signs of plagiarism.
    Finally, we asked two renowned scientists in the field of Public History (Prof. Jasmine Alinder, Prof. Thomas Cauvin) for an expert opinion on this case.

    All these steps have refuted the fore-mentioned accusation. Dr. Samida points out that she has followed all the conventions of scientific procedure. The machine check revealed a text agreement with various sources of only 19%, which must be considered irrelevant. Even after repeated thorough analysis, we found no evidence of plagiarism in Dr. Samida’s text and were able to ensure that our editing procedure met the requirements for scientific publications. And both Prof. Alinder and Prof. Cauvin come to the conclusion in their detailed, systematic and thorough reports that no case of plagiarism can be established.

    As a result of the procedure described above, we come to the conclusion that the accusation is not substantiated. We therefore see no reason to make any changes to Dr. Samida’s article or to our editorial procedure.

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