Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich, who considers himself a historian, made a documentary film about Pope John Paul II’s return to his native Poland. This picture of him and his wife posing underneath the cruel “Work Will Make You Free” sign like they are at the Prom was taken during his 2009 production.
David Graham, of The Atlantic, writes that Gingrich is posing “jauntily” in front of Auschwitz and is “wearing his default smirk.”
“There is something distinctly off about these tourist-style shots in front of the Nazi death-camp,” he writes.
Vanity Fair pushes the critique a step further, Photoshopping the cute Gingrich couple strutting their stuff in front of other tragic historical sites such as the Chernobyl nuclear power plant and the Titanic iceberg.
Gingrich obviously didn’t intend to trivialize the Nazi deathcamp — in fact he has bombastically claimed that “people like me are what stand between us and Auschwitz” — but these kind of clueless tourist poses are unfortunately quite commonplace.
I witnessed tourists giddly spread themselves out on the railroad tracks bisecting the Birkenau concentration camp (see “Capture That Auschwitz Moment” for The Jerusalem Report magazine).
Perhaps the most awkward Auschwitz pose on Gingrich’s site is this one of a young family smiling in front of the electric fence.
Click on the image to enlarge.