UK boxer stirs controversy for Valentine's Day trip to Auschwitz

2-time world bantamweight champion Jamie McDonnell, in since-deleted posts, shared pictures of him and his girlfriend smiling and seemingly happy visiting the infamous Nazi death camp.

 Entrance gate at Auschwitz concentration camp (photo credit: VIA WIKIMEDIA COMMONS)
Entrance gate at Auschwitz concentration camp

Former world champion boxer Jamie McDonnell sparked controversy on social media when he shared pictures of himself and his girlfriend taking smiling, happy-seeming pictures together on vacation in Auschwitz.

McDonnell, who is a boxer from the UK who held the IBF and WBA world bantamweight championships and who retired in 2019, shared posts on social media, nearly all of which he has since deleted, of him and his girlfriend at the infamous Nazi concentration camp in Poland, seemingly during a Valentine's Day trip.

"Here we go, was an eye opener today at Auschwitz," he wrote.

The backlash was quick, with many calling out the boxer for his posts and seemingly treating the site as a tourist attraction. 

McDonnell responded to many allegations, though these responses have also mostly been deleted, including sharing one photo of a website with information on tours of Auschwitz, as if to imply it was, in fact, a tourist attraction.

"Making me feel like I did something wrong, only come away for a weekend for Valentine's," he tweeted with a shrug emoji in one response.

When one Twitter user quote-tweeted with the statement "I get the urge to be [a] defense when people are attacking you but posting smiling pictures in Auschwitz is not a good look," he quote-tweeted back with "So what do we do when we visit a tourist place not take a photo or not smile we all get it what happened?"

Though he had made numerous attempts at defending himself, McDonnell has since deleted nearly all of his tweets and replies about this.

At the time of writing, the most recent tweet on his page is from February 11, and the most recent tweets in his "tweets and replies" section seem to be related to the controversy, with one saying "well they don't" in response to tweets about Auschwitz seemingly telling visitors if the place is a tourist site, and another replying to deleted tweets simply reading "Am bored now."

The Auschwitz concentration camp was arguably the most infamous Nazi death camp during the Holocaust. More than 1.1 million people were killed there during the Nazis' genocidal efforts until it was liberated by Soviet troops. 

Today, the camp remains preserved as a museum and as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.