HolocfashionYou can just imagine the pitch meeting at Easyjet: “We’ve got this great venue for the next fashion shoot for our next in-flight magazine. It’s hip, it’s vibrant, it’s the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin”. Yes, the EasyJet Traveller magazine had photos of gorgeous models taken against the gorgeous backdrop of the gorgeous Holocaust memorial. Rumbled by the New Statesman, you have to wonder what they were thinking. Are they maybe rebranding completely so if you have sex in an Easyjet toilet (and good luck to you fitting in there), you become a member of the Mile Heil Hitler Club? Has a new kick-ass editor come in who feels there’s a market for pictures of duty free Neo-Nazi after-shave (“Goerring – pour homme”)? Today: ticketless travel and a £5 charge for extra-wide hand luggage, tomorrow: the world.

I presume it’s just a case that they didn’t think it through,  didn’t quite realise that the photoshoot might be in poor taste. And I guess when you look at the full name of the memorial it’s easy not to realise its meaning. They probably had a conversation like:

PR: What do you think about taking the photos at the Foundation Memorial for the Murdered Jews of Europe?
Senior executive: The Foundation Memorial for the Murdered Jews of Europe? Can’t see any problems in that at all.
PR: Cool. I’ll meet you at the Foundation Memorial for the Murdered Jews of Europe.

This guy looks far too Aryan if you ask me

This guy looks far too Aryan if you ask me

To be fair, Easyjet made it clear they didn’t realise. They’ve apologised massively and withdrawn the pictures, replacing them with some great pics of clowns having a custard pie fight at Hiroshima (I jest of course). And I know some people will feel it’s important for that memorial not to be too taboo, it’s a structure, a sculpture, kids climb on it etc. But it is what it is – a place to commemorate the dead – and I’m sure no-one wants to be accused of dancing on people’s graves. Except for these people (found by @videogum).

The Holocaust is a very tricky area (see Wikipedia: “understatements”). Obviously as a Jew I can be bolder in what I say, I can even (maybe) get away with making some jokes. Would it be acceptable for me to say, even as satire, that I was worried that the PR at the Easyjet pitch meeting might even have said the Holocaust was a perfect match for the Easyjet brand because its transports were the very essence of No Frills. It’s a dangerous area, one that’s easy(jet) to get wrong. Although if you want my advice I’d say, as a general rule of thumb, linking sexy fashion shoots with brutal mass murder and genocide is probably something to be avoided. Probably.

  1. John Self says:

    What really enhances the offensiveness is the stupid pose the model is pulling in the pic above, pure Zoolander. It creates a (false) impression that they were either trying to disrespect the memorial, or (more likely) were so vacuous that they just didn’t know or care enough to give a shit.
    .-= John Self´s last blog ..Blake Bailey: Cheever: A Life =-.

  2. Jude says:

    I heart you. Write more write more.

  3. Ah, now then, when you put it like that, I’m starting to agree with your general rule of thumb. Probably.
    .-= ᴉʞᴐᴉʌǝɿ ʍǝɹpuɐ´s last blog ..The Church Is On Fire =-.

  4. mark rosenblatt says:

    oddly , i was there last week. school parties run screaming through the “fun maze” that is the memorial and no teacher saying a word. as we emerged on to the street, completely battered by the phenomenal exhibition below ground, a group of tourists sat waiting for their coach on top of one of the outer pillars, laughing and joking. perhaps it’s an inadvertent biproduct of the memorial’s concept – it’s an entire street block in size and so there is a blurriness as to where you stop being in a memorial and where the experience begins. perhaps it’s that school and tourist groups are just ticking off another site on their travels (it is next to the Reichstag and a well-deserved Starbucks) but i also think it’s peoples’ way of blocking out, consciously or not, the sheer scale of the genocide. ironically, the museum below does more to individualise the loss than any I have seen. None of this can apply to the cretinous ineptitude of easyjet’s marketing team. You’d have to be a complete dope to walk in there with a camera team and start snapping fashion models. quite incredible.

  5. Oli says:

    Let’s not get too silly about this. It doesn’t take too many brain cells to see why someone might want to do their photoshoot in such a location; it’s not just a memorial, it’s a stunning piece of art.

    Perhaps if she was licking some of the writing while he humped one of the blocks, there might be something perverse enough to get worked up about… But they’re not.

  6. Yossarian says:

    Impeccable blog. Jewdiciously handled.

  7. Simon says:

    Great blog, well written but the truth is again, it’s the German’s fault.

    I went there by accident in the summer with my son and both he and I thought it’s a fun place. He was running around with me trying to inject some gravity into the situation. In the end, I decided he was right. It’s a great piece of art but it’s no apology for the genocide of half of the world’s Jewry

    They should have been much more direct – eg have people walking around Berlin with End-of-the-world type signs around them saying “Yes, we really did kill 6 million Jews” or something like this

  8. Fair’s fair, David: any organisation who charges you two quid for the privilege of using the Kaiser err… sorry, karzie, is hardly going to allow a wee thing like appropriateness, or their public perception, get in the way of something so shallow as a models’ photoshoot.

    Indeed, satire, and not indignation, is the THE most appropriate weapon against asinine events such as the one which happened. Great blog, by the way.
    .-= Cosmic Navel Lint´s last blog ..Putin loves Palin =-.

  9. Thanks for the fantastic info – I loved reading it! I always enjoy browsing your blog. 🙂

  10. amos benvered says:

    I was there three years ago, just after it was opened to the public and found no sign of disrespect or fun goings-on. Maybe things have changed (should go on another visit!)but that is part of the course that history sometimes takes. Who, for example,would have guessed when the United Nations was founded, that it would turn into an anti-Israeli podium for each rabble rouser and holocaust-denier to address the world?

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