“All the world is a stage,” the saying goes. But when the stage is a Holocaust Memorial used as a backdrop for a fashion photo shoot—not once, but twice—enough is enough.
The Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe is a large site in central Berlin located near the Brandenburg Gate. Designed by the American architect Peter Eisenman and opened in 2005, it is comprised of 2,700 concrete slabs.
Its uncompromising form is intentional, so that we do not forget the millions of victims of the Holocaust, and it acts as a reminder that we must never allow anything similar to happen again.
But twice the site has been used for commercial purposes: fashion photography shoots—first in 2009 by publishers of the in-flight magazine for easyJet, a European regional carrier, and again in January of this year by a fashion model/blogger.
The two episodes have been roundly condemned as inappropriate and disrespectful by not only the foundation that operates the site but also by government, corporate and public opinion.
EasyJet management quickly apologized for using the Holocaust Memorial as a fashion backdrop and pulled 300,000 copies of the offending magazine from its jets.
The fashion blogger, Pelayo Diaz, posted on his Facebook in February, “I don’t think [the images] are disrespectful or inappropriate in any way… I apologize if I’ve hurt anybody’s feelings.”
Meantime, the foundation that oversees the Berlin memorial is making it clear that it does not support commercial shoots at the site, and security guards now monitor the memorial round the clock.