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Travel Blogger Apologizes After Auschwitz Museum Calls Them Out For Tone Deaf Rubber Duckie Photo

Classen Rafael/Getty Images

A Spanish Instagram account has become the subject of controversy after a visit to Auschwitz, where, as is the account’s tradition, pictures of the travel destination featuring a smiling rubber duck mascot were taken.

The account, @Atuk.apil, says in their tagline that “life should be yellow.”

After outrage over the picture began spreading across the internet, the Auschwitz Memorial opened up a conversation with its followers on Twitter.

From the Instagram account’s caption of the duck photo, it was clear the poster knew the full context of his image.

“[Auschwitz] was the largest extermination centre in the history of Nazism, where it is estimated that about 1,300,000 people were sent, of which 1,100,000 died, the vast majority of them Jewish”.

“Auschwitz II (Birkenau), extermination camp, where most of the more than one million victims of the camp died. In this section were women.”

He also wrote:

“Trains full of people arrived daily and were immediately separated between ‘fit and unfit’. The fit had a life expectancy of months, while the unfit were sent directly to the gas chambers.”

The author removed his image shortly after the controversy began, expressing regret that his photo had been perceived as insensitive.

Some felt the apology made up for the accounts’ actions.

Others disagreed.


The travel blogger offered this defense of his post, though English is not his first language:

“I do not think that you can not take photos in that place, or that you can not write books or songs, and in the end the post what it has is historical information, it does not make apologies or jokes or anything.”

“I think that the point is in the context, that it is banalized instead because first, it is a duck and that unquestionably takes away seriousness, second the objective of the account is to present tourist sites and not give information about history or about things related to the Holocaust and certainly things that have to be in different places are mixed.”

“But anyway, the context, because even if it was another fictional character, we are going to put a monkey who has an Instagram account to promote the historical memory of different events, I would not see that a photo is taken in Auschwitz and put exactly the same message.”

“The problem is that the photo was taken in a place where it does not belong and is being denatured.”

No matter which side of the issue you fall on, everyone agrees that it’s better to err on the side of respectfulness when dealing with such a solemn location.

Collin Gossel

Written by Collin Gossel

Collin Gossel is a writer and comedian living in Brooklyn, New York, but there are nights when he looks up at the stars and wistfully thinks to himself “there’s got to be more out there…” You can catch Collin improvising new musicals every Tuesday night at the Magnet Theater’s Musical Megawatt, or follow his unfiltered thoughts on Twitter and Instagram @CollinGossel.--