A man visits the entrance of the Holocaust memorial in Bucharest, Romania.
(photo credit: REUTERS/BOGDAN CRISTEL)
If you’re a pop singer looking for a backdrop for your sexy photo shoot, you’d think it would be best to steer clear of Holocaust memorials.
But that didn’t deter the Romanian-Australian singer Xonia, who has come under fire in recent days for posing inside a Holocaust monument in Bucharest. And Xonia is just the latest in a slate of pop culture figures in Romania to use the site for filming in recent years, a matter which has angered a local lawmaker.
Xonia, who was born Loredana Sachelaru in Melbourne to Romanian parents, posted three images of herself on Instagram in late August to her more than 190,000 followers. She was wearing a skimpy bodysuit, thigh high boots and posing seductively – the norm for the 28-year-old performer. But the location – inside the Romanian Holocaust Memorial – has left many puzzled and disgusted.
The memorial was completed in 2009 and commemorates the 300,000 Romanians who were murdered by the Nazis.
Xonia captioned the images, “Quit complaining and boss up,” and, “Focus on your goal, don’t look in any direction but ahead.” She has not removed the images from Instagram despite the outpouring of criticism.
While Xonia has disabled the ability for people to comment on her Instagram post, those who follow her Facebook page vented their disgust.
“Completely uneducated low life to film at a memorial to thousands of people that were gassed to death,” wrote Alexandra Ostrov.
Melanie Arant said that the photos were “very disrespectful. What lows these crazies go to for attention. Does she know children were also put in the ovens?”
According to the UK tabloid the Daily Express
, any commercial activity at the memorial is supposed to be approved by the Elie Wiesel Institute for the Study of Holocaust in Romania.
The institute did not respond to a request for comment by press time.
This was not the first time the site was used in an inappropriate manner.
Two years ago, Romanian hiphop group Satra B.E.N.Z released a music video for its song “#traparmy,” filmed entirely inside the memorial. Neither the song nor the video mention the Holocaust. The video, which has been seen more than 11 million times on YouTube, wasn’t the subject of criticism until several weeks ago, when Romanian MP Petre Florin Manole slammed it on Facebook.
Writing on August 23, Manole, a member of the Social Democratic Party, said that “the Monument of Holocaust victims in Romania is a place to commemorate victims, not decoration for music videos!” He added that “a monument to the memory of persecuted people
who were killed for their ethnic affiliation, what should be an area that requires respect and decency, is transformed into a musical video. Outrageous and immoral!”
Several days later, Manole, who worked for several years for the Elie Wiesel Institute, posted about another video, this one from The Watcher, for its song “King Kong.” The MP wrote that he plans to bring the issue to the Romanian parliament, where he will “initiate a debate with lawmakers, directors and artists to identify the best legislative solution to prevent and sanction such acts.”
Manole told The Jerusalem Post
on Tuesday that better security is needed at the site to prevent such things from happening. But he said, “I think not only better security is the answer, but also education – to understand the meaning of the Holocaust and this memorial.”
He said that seeing how little the artists cared about the criticisms, showed that “they just want publicity after a scandal. They have no respect for the law or for the victims.”