Welcome back for another edition of The Dark Tourism Monthly. September’s been full of interesting stories surround the fascinating travel trend of dark tourism. Remember, this is just a short round-up that I like to do once a month, to find even more stories and read more in-depth articles, follow the page on Facebook where updates are usually pushed out twice a day.
Holocaust denier in Belgium ordered to visit concentration camps and write about them
In a very interesting turn of events, a judge in Belgium has been served a seemingly fit sentence for his crimes. Laurent Louis, a far-right politician and self-proclaimed “anti-Zionist,” has been ordered to tour the concentration camps and write about his experience at each one. Laurent Louis was initially served a roughly $20,000 fine and a six-month suspended prison sentence, however the prison sentence was replaced with this clever initiative instead. For the next five years he must visit a concentration camp, including Auschwitz, and write ’50 lines’ on his trip. Now this is dark tourism done correctly!
Read more at Stars and Stripes
Fyre Festival Returns to Pyongyang, Chernobyl & Guantanamo Bay
In what can only be described as a ‘really?’, the infamous Fyre Festival that almost caused a humanitarian crisis last year when their organisation of a festival turned to tatters; leaving festival goers stranded and starved, has returned! This time though, they’re obviously looking to grab more headlines by announcing that the next three annual Fyre Festival’s will take place exclusively in; Pyongyang, North Korea; Chernobyl, Ukraine; and Guantanamo Bay – of course they are! At the moment that’s all there is to report, but this is one to pay close attention to as it melts in to a disastrous pot of a disorganised and reckless company trying to jump on the dark tourism trend.
Read more at Digital Music News
High schoolers vandalize wall at Auschwitz-Birkenau
In an ignorant and shocking move, several high schoolers from Ort Rogozin high school in Migdal HaEmek, Israel; have grafitti’d on a wall with the date of their visit; August 27, 2017, on the Block 25 wall in Birkenau alongside the name of their school and a drawing of a Star of David. One of the students told Ynet news:
“Like all of the kids in our year, I too am shocked and regret what happened. We denounce this kind of behavior. None of us even knew about this. I can assure you that if any of us had seen this, it wouldn’t have happened.” … “merely wanted to leave his mark, show pride of his delegation. I’m sure he understands the enormity of his mistake and the importance of the site.”
Of course that’s not going to let them off the hook and several investigations are now under way. Unfortunately this is just another sign that dark tourism isn’t being managed correctly enough; with both tour planners and tourists lacking adequate information and context.
Read more at Ynet News
Graves at UK’s only Nazi concentration camp under threat from energy plan
Graves at the site of the only Nazi concentration camp on the British isles could potentially be destroyed next year due to a major energy initiative between France and the UK. The Alderney Concentration Camp Complex on the British Isles included two labour camps and two concentration camps. French, Jewish and Russian inmates were kept there with hundreds dying throughout the war. According to an archaeological report that was leaked to the Sunday Times, a planned-link up between the British and French energy grids, via the camp, has already “severely damaged” the main burial ground for prisoners on the island due to drilling.
Unfortunately, this again shows the mismanagement of dark tourism sites, particularly here in the United Kingdom where education about the Holocaust still remains arguably poor. It will be a shame if these graves are damaged and disrespected and not allowed to serve their purpose as a reminder.
Read more at The Jewish Chronicle
That’s all for this month’s edition. Make sure to follow the Facebook page to see the regular updates and pop back next month for another edition of the Dark Tourism Monthly!