Memory of the Holocaust remembered via Grindr

Nov 28 2011

A new virtual initiative has emerged from Germany and is all about commemorating the memory of the Holocaust. The new blog “Totem and Taboo” has decided to feature the latest apparent trend within the addictive apple application, of men putting up their profile pictures, taken at the Berlin Holocaust Museum in Germany.

Grindr is a very popular application for gay and bisexual men, looking to find other men in their proximity, and works as a GPS dating service, where users can spot other users in their area and get in touch with them. One of the basic requirements is posting a self-image, and that’s where pictures of people in the Berlin Holocaust museums appear.

The blog is an idea brought up by Zion Afuta and Boris Cukierman, Israelis living in Berlin and London, respectfully, who “decided to start the blog following astonishment at the amount of profile pictures of Grindr users photographed at the holocaust memorial in Berlin”. Speaking exclusively to Abbanibi, Afuta explains that “there are also some pictures of users in other monuments and touristic attractions, like the golden gate bridge and stone hedge, but for some reason none is as popular as the holocaust memorial” and goes on to say that they are both “extra happy that this unexpected tribute came from our own kind – gay people”.

This joy made you start this new blog?

“As Jewish-Israeli-gays in the diaspora, we witness so much hate and ignorance regarding both our history and our culture, and we thought the world should know that some sisters do remember what it’s like being a minority, and dedicate their private means to take a stance. So we just collected all the Grindr profile pictures taken at the memorial, and put them up there, with the hope of inspiring more people to send us pictures they found or even take their own profile pictures there”.

Do you expect this to become a trend of Jewish people from the gay community worldwide?

“Users seem to come from various places and from diverse ethnic backgrounds, we don’t know if all the people in the pictures are jewish, but we assume this is not the case… The problem is that monuments and memorials tend to be heavy and unappealing, so we were deeply moved to see how through Grindr the impact is elevated to higher standards. Through the adoption of Grindr users, the monument gets in our blog a new role: not only a space for grief and sadness, but also a site for hope, unity, and cruising”.

Do you find a connection between persecutions of Jews and homosexuals in history and present day?

“(The blog) emphasizes the strong relations that the jewish people have always had to gay men and women, being such an openminded and progressed people, and helps to promote the truth about about the gay country that Israel actually is”.

* * Update 11/29/2011 * *

Responding exclusively to Israeli founder of “Grindr” Joel Simkhai says: “As a Jew and an Israeli, I’m deeply moved by how users are coming together as a community on Grindr to share and inspire others take part in memory of the Holocaust. This initiative demonstrates the power and potential of Grindr, as a geo-social network that’s now surpassed 3 million users, as a platform for mobilizing others to promote positive messages for the gay community”.

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