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regular-article-logo Sunday, 26 May 2024

Elon Musk visits Auschwitz after uproar over antisemitic messages on X

The billionaire has faced accusations from the Anti-Defamation League, a prominent Jewish civil rights organisation, and others of tolerating antisemitic messages on the platform, formerly known as Twitter, since purchasing it in 2022

AP Krakow, Poland Published 22.01.24, 09:04 PM
Elon Musk

Elon Musk File

Elon Musk, who has been accused of allowing antisemitic messages on his social media platform, X, visited the site of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp on Monday.

Musk's visit at the most notorious site of the horrors of the Holocaust came before a scheduled appearance later Monday at a conference on antisemitism organised by the European Jewish Association in the nearby Polish city of Krakow.

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The billionaire has faced accusations from the Anti-Defamation League, a prominent Jewish civil rights organisation, and others of tolerating antisemitic messages on the platform, formerly known as Twitter, since purchasing it in 2022.

He sparked an outcry in November, including from the White House, when he responded on X to a user who accused Jews of hating white people and professing indifference to antisemitism by posting, “You have said the actual truth.”

He later apologised for the comment, calling it the “dumbest” post that he's ever done.

Several big brands, including Disney and IBM, stopped advertising on the platform last year after liberal advocacy group Media Matters said that their ads were appearing alongside pro-Nazi content and white nationalist posts.

X has since sued Media Matters, saying the Washington-based nonprofit manufactured the report to “drive advertisers from the platform and destroy X Corp.”

Musk was photographed visiting the Birkenau site together with Daily Wire podcaster Ben Shapiro, who was also set to attend the EJA conference. Birkenau is a village near Oswiecim, in southern Poland, fenced off with barbed wire, where wooden barracks for the prisoners and the ruins of a gas chamber endure as evidence of Nazi crimes, and where a monument to the victims stands. International ceremonies are held there each year.

Musk had been expected to make the visit on Tuesday and take part in a memorial service, together with political figures attending the EJA conference in Krakow, but showed up at the Nazi death camp on Monday instead.

“Due to schedule concerns, before Elon Musk's arrival to the European Jewish Association conference, he took part in a private visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau with EJA Chairman Rabbi Menachem Margolin, Ben Shapiro and Holocaust survivor Gidon Lev. Musk laid a wreath at the wall of death and took part in a short memorial ceremony and service by the Birkenau memorial,” the EJA said in an email.

Musk was set to discuss antisemitism online with Shapiro at the conference in Krakow, which was held before International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27.

More than 1.1 million people were murdered by the Nazis and their henchmen at Auschwitz during World War II. Most who were killed were Jews, but the victims also included Poles, Roma, Soviet prisoners of war, and others. In all, about 6 million European Jews died during the Holocaust. When the Soviets liberated the camp, they found about 7,000 survivors.

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