A travel blogger known for posting photos of a rubber duck in front of famous landmarks has apologised for a recent post that showed the duck outside of Auschwitz.
Turkish Instagrammer Atuk Apil, who has over 3,500 followers and has posted photos from Palace Square in St. Petersburg, Sintra in Portugal and the Colosseum in Rome, posted a now-deleted photo of the duck in front of the gates of the concentration camp, where around 1.1 million people were killed.
The caption of the photo outlined the site's significance, relaying how prisoners were separated from each other and that it was the largest such site of the Nazi regime. Understandably, the post drew severe criticism.
In a tweet, the official Twitter account of the Auschwitz Memorial questioned the thinking behind the post, asking followers whether it was "disrespectful".
What if someone who travels with a rubber duck & uses it as an artistic Instagram convention arrives at @AuschwitzMuseum?— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) November 6, 2019
Is the rubber duck in front of the Gate of Death disrespectful - even unintentionally? Or is it a side effect of the visual world we should accept/ignore? pic.twitter.com/RVqqVPL9CH
"What if someone who travels with a rubber duck & uses it as an artistic Instagram convention arrives at [the Auschwitz Museum]?" it says. "Is the rubber duck in front of the Gate of Death disrespectful - even unintentionally? Or is it a side effect of the visual world we should accept/ignore?"
Many Twitter users responded with shock and disgust, with one pointing out that the juxtaposition of a rubber duck against the context of a camp where "gas chambers in Auschwitz were disguised as bathrooms" was particularly offensive.
Gas chambers in Auschwitz were disguised as bathrooms and victims sent to "shower". The image of a happy bath toy in that context imho demonstrates gross tastelessness and a gaping lack of historical knowledge.— peter hauser (@hauserbua) November 7, 2019
Absolutely disrespectful. Some places deserve a sense of respect and decorum. Auschwitz is definitely one of those places.— wskrz 🇳🇱🇨🇦🇪🇺 (@wskrz) November 6, 2019
@AuschwitzMuseum is not a fun tourist destination or cool looking building.— Common_Sense (@not2early) November 6, 2019
It is a memorial site.
It is a place to soberly reflect on the millions of human beings who suffered and died at the hands of others
He is treating it as just another photo opp.
Callous & shameful
Some, however, said that the Instagram account served a purpose in making people engage with history in new ways.
I'd say it's a bit disrespectful BUT— Ry (@TheHuckerbeast) November 6, 2019
They've placed the same duck infront of other landmarks of great importance, showing that the Gate of Death and Auschwitz itself is a (allbeit chilling) site of great importance that should be visited and learned about.
Hope this makes sense.
This is precisely why an artist needs to be allowed to do this. You are talking about it. We are engaged with history. The entire idea of that type of account is a very modern thing and can't be reviewed by old ideas.— space cat 🌌🐈 🏳️🌈 (@nailsthatglow) November 7, 2019
How many young people are talking about history right now?
The account stated that they had reached out to the blogger, who had removed the post and issued an apology.
"The intention of the post was the one previously mentioned without intentions to disrespect or generate controversy on the matter. My sincerest apologies to @AuschwitzMuseum for the inconvenience and to all the people who have felt offended."