A pregnant social media influencer with 136,000 followers criticised for using the hashtag #babyintheoven in an Instagram post about Berlin’s Shoah memorial has accused “twisted minds” of taking her caption out of context.
An image published by the Instagram account @hellentablada last week showed the 38-year-old jewellery and fashion designer Elena Tablada leaning against a concrete slab in Berlin’s Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe during a trip to the German capital.
The photo caption, which appears to have been amended, originally read: “BERLIN”, with three emojis and the hashtags #babyintheoven #memorial and #berlin. The hashtag was later seemingly removed and the caption amended to include the hashtag #neverforget.
The language used in the caption drew criticism from online users, due to the Nazi regime’s practice of cremating the remains of Holocaust victims in death camps.
But in an email to Jewish News on Sunday evening, the Spanish social media star hit back at critics and said her family had received “threats, wishes of death … lack of respect and insults” following criticism online.
“I used that hashtag since, without any evil about my current pregnancy, which was unfortunate due to the location, without ever imagining that there were twisted minds that would take it out of context with such evil,” she wrote.
In an apparent reference to media coverage of the controversy, she continued: “I think the press should act differently and not inciting hate, as usual. Isn’t that one of the reasons of this monument, hate?
“People make mistakes, they get carried away by their personal moments and situations and they are not always absolutely alert continuously or thinking what others may think… some of us live naturally and enjoy the moments with the people we love spontaneously and without any bad intentions in words or actions. Tolerance is extinguishing, humanity is destroying humanity itself…
“With this I close chapter and I continue to enjoy my life and those who love me.”
The memorial, which opened in 2005 to commemorate the six million Jews murdered during the Holocaust, features some 2,700 slabs of concrete arranged in a grid and designed by the architect Peter Eisenman.
The site also includes an information centre on the persecution and extermination of European Jewry, frequented by nearly half a million visitors each year.
The controversial practice of taking selfies at memorials to the Shoah has attracted criticism in recent years. In March of last year, officials at the Auschwitz Memorial urged online users to stop taking selfies at the site’s railroad tracks.
“When you come to @AuschwitzMuseum remember you are at the site where over 1 million people were killed. Respect their memory,” organisers at the memorial said in a tweet.
“There are better places to learn how to walk on a balance beam than the site which symbolises [sic] deportation of hundreds of thousands to their deaths,” the tweet said.