The Dark Tourism Monthly: July 2017

The Dark Tourism Monthly: July 2017

Israeli Student Admits Stealing Items from Auschwitz for Art Project

Source: Ynet News


In what seems to be a story still unfolding and developing, an Israeli student named Rotem Bides, a granddaughter of Holocaust survivors, appears to have stolen several items from Auschwitz for an art project. Defending herself, Rotem Bides told the Yedioth Ahronoth:

“I felt it was something I had to do. Millions of people were murdered based on the moral laws of a certain country, under a certain regime. And if these are the laws, I can go there and act according to my own laws. The statement I’m making here is that laws are determined by humans, and that morality is something that changes from time to time and from culture to culture.
“These are the things I want to deal with. I am a third generation to the Holocaust, but I’m not saying I’m allowed to do it because my grandfather was in Auschwitz. I’m simply asking the questions. I’m concerned that after all the survivors are gone, the Holocaust will turn into a myth, something that cannot be perceived.”

Now whether that at all justifies what she has done is not up for discussion, however The Auschwitz-Birkenau memorial certainly did not think so, providing a statement of their own:

“It’s painful and outrageous. The Auschwitz-Birkenau memorial is a protected site that stands as testimony of the tragedy of the Holocaust and World War II, which should be preserved for the next generations. It’s hard to imagine theft being justified in any way, even through art, which can be seen as an attempt to gain publicity,”

However, it should be noted that a more recent story regarding this has come out which states that Rotem Bides did not actually steal any object from within the camp itself, merely collecting items from the surrounding area. She has since told Jewish Telegraphic Agency the following:

“The student said her words were taken out of context by the journalists who interviewed her and that they put words in her mouth,” the management of the college said in a statement, Haaretz reported.
“The student sent a letter of clarification to the college management, stating she had committed nothing criminal like stealing and apologizing to anyone offended by the report the college decided to allow her to present her final project at the exhibition. Also, the college will send a letter to the Auschwitz museum to clear up any misunderstanding caused by the erroneous report,” the statement also said.

It had been decided that the exhibition would go ahead as planned, despite the active and continuing controversy, on July 26th. It also contained a letter from the author explaining her creative process.


‘Rotem Bides’ – Source: Ynet News


Read More @ The Independent / Jewish Telgraphic Agency / The Guardian



The Auschwitz Cartel

Pinchas Ginsburg / Source: TheMarker


In equally shocking, but unfortunately not as surprising, news; comes the revelation that several companies have been under investigation for ‘fixing’ the cost of trips to Auschwitz-Birkenau.

They include Pinchas Ginsburg and Zvi Sa’ar of Hillel Tours, Nachman Keidar and Ayelet Jungster from Bridge to the World Tours, Shimon Regev and Aharon Torovitz of Academy Travel, and Moshe Hartman and Eyal Sluck of Diesenhaus.

Fourteen individuals, employees of four travel agencies; are currently under investigation for setting up a non-interference pact between the years of 2010 and 2016. Police now believe that they have enough evidence to start prosecuting. Make sure to follow our Facebook to see any updates from this one, going to be a long one.


Read More @ Hamodia / Times of Israel 



Duke & Duchess meet Holocaust Survivors in Poland

Source: BBC News


The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, as part of their five-day tour of Poland and Germany, met with survivors of the Holocaust in Stuthof Concentration Camp; which held some 110,000 inmates, of which 60,000 died including 28,000 Jews. The camp was formed in September 1939 and was the first concentration camp to be set up outside of German borders; it was also the last to liberated, finally freed on the 9th of May 1945 by the Soviet Army. There the Duke and Duchess met British survivors Mandfred Goldberg and Zigi Shipper who were both in the camp when they were just 14 years old, it is the first time Mr Goldberg has been to Poland since being permitted to leave in 1946.


Source: BBC News


Mr Shipper talked about some of his reasons for wanting to return to the camp, including bringing more attention to the concentration camp as an informative tourist destination, adding;

“When a royal goes, and it’s put on the television or in the paper, people say ‘why don’t we go?’ And that’s what we want.”

Follow the links below to read more about this story.


Read More @ BBC News / The Telegraph / Royal Central



Chernobyl set to become a Solar Energy Farm

Source: The Independent


If you’ve ever wanted to visit the desolate remains of the world’s worst nuclear disaster; the infamous Chernobyl, you should get a move on. Because talks have already begun between the Ukranian government and Engie; one of France’s largest multinational energy firms, to build a £969m solar facility at the derelict nuclear plant and remaining areas.

Chernobyl of course being the site of the world’s worst nuclear power disaster in 1986, which led to 56 direct deaths and an estimated 4,000 deaths due to radiation exposure. Since the disaster a 30km exclusion zone has been set up for the last 31 years, with only a handful of people living in the area still and tours being time restricted to avoid unnecessary exposure to the still potent radiation. But now things could be looking brighter for the disused power plant as a spokesperson for the French power company has confirmed that talks have begun:

An Engie spokesman verified that the company is in consultation with the Ukrainian government but refused to reveal any further details on the project.

This is definitely one to watch develop and it will be interesting to learn about their predicted time frame and turnaround; and as we said, if you’ve ever wanted to go you better get a move on, because once work begins it will no longer being the infamous ghost town of Chernobyl.


Read More @ The Independent / The Bulletin / Electrek



Gas Chamber Military Speech

Source: Lee Celano/AP @ The Guardian


Flashing back to the beginning of July, we had the astronomically ignorant event of Louisiana Republican; Clay Higgins posting a video from Auschwitz. What started as a seemingly suitable memorial video to the survivors of Auschwitz turned in to a ‘you can’t make this stuff up’ event when the congressman used the opportunity to support and encourage a stronger military force for the United States.



In the five minute video, the congressman Clay Higgins announces that “this is why homeland security must be squared away, why our military must be invincible” whilst standing in the actual gas chambers in Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp. Not too much more to be said about this one just because it’s turning very political, watch the video for yourself. Follow the links down below to read more about what is quickly turning in to a political nightmare.


Read More @ The Telegraph / The Guardian / Business Insider


That’s Not All!

Thanks for reading! Of course that’s not everything that happened in the world of ‘dark tourism’ this month but it’s a round-up of ‘highlights’ for July, compiled from our Facebook Page which is updated daily. If you’d like to see more of these articles then be sure to subscribe to the blog and follow the page on Facebook. To make sure you see content regularly, you can follow the steps below to make sure Darker Destinations always shows on your News Feed:



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