February 24, 2024

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Elon Musk visits the Auschwitz death camp site

Elon Musk visits the Auschwitz death camp site

  • Written by Shiona McCallum and Chris Vallance
  • Technology reporters

Image source, Getty Images

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Elon Musk at the site of the German Nazi death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau

Tech billionaire Elon Musk visited the site of the Auschwitz death camp.

The visit comes after intense criticism of how X, formerly Twitter, handled anti-Semitic posts, and just weeks after Musk apologized for endorsing an anti-Semitic conspiracy theory.

Prominent Jewish leaders invited Mr Musk to see for himself one of the most symbolic sites of the Holocaust.

He will later address online anti-Semitism at a conference hosted by the European Jewish Association (EJA).

Nazi Germany killed at least 1.1 million people in the Auschwitz death camp in occupied Poland during World War II. Nearly a million were Jews. The museum indicates that more than 200,000 children and young people.

Mr Musk laid a wreath and participated in a memorial service, including lighting a candle, during a private visit to the site.

The photos showed him there with his son on his shoulders and standing next to Holocaust survivor Gideon Lev.

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As a result of the fallout from Musk's impassioned take on an anti-Semitic publication, Apple, Disney and IBM have temporarily halted advertising on X.

The Tesla chief, who took over the platform in October 2022, faced accusations of anti-Semitism in November when he responded: “I told the actual truth” to a post on X that made a false claim that Jewish communities drive hatred against white people.

Musk said the endorsement was a mistake, calling it “one of the most foolish things” he's ever done on the platform.

Later in November, Musk joined Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on a tour of Kibbutz Kfar Azza, which was targeted by Hamas as part of the October 7 attacks in which 1,300 people were killed and about 240 were returned to Gaza as hostages.

Leading political figures from European countries and Mr Musk will meet today in Krakow, Poland “to discuss and find solutions to the astronomical rises in anti-Semitism affecting Europe”, the EJA said.

She added that “this worrying trend” has been escalating since the war in Gaza.

During a live discussion broadcast on Channel X in September, the head of the EJA, Rabbi Menachem Margolin, invited Mr Musk to visit Auschwitz.

Rabbi Margolin said it would be a “very powerful statement” and “could contribute a lot to Holocaust awareness and the struggle to combat anti-Semitism.”

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At least 1.1 million people were killed in Auschwitz

They have been gassed, starved, worked to death, and killed in medical experiments.

The Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum had previously been critical of X.

In August, the museum criticized the platform after it initially failed to remove a Holocaust-denying post, saying it did not violate its rules.

The offensive post was in response to a letter from the museum about the murder of a three-year-old Jewish girl in the camp's gas chambers.

The post described her death as a “fairy tale” and used anti-Semitic tropes.

According to the museum's post on

This initial response to the museum's complaint, according to X, was due to an error during the first review — and was escalated and removed in the second review.

X's policies state that Holocaust denial is prohibited.

Shortly after an article about the incident was published, a museum spokesperson told the BBC that moderation was vital in tackling anti-Semitism but that there appeared to be “a problem at X in the quality of oversight and response to reports”.

But the Tesla chief strongly defended his record on combating online hate.

In his discussion with Rabbi Margolin, Mr. Musk said it was ridiculous to be accused of anti-Semitism “when all the evidence points the other way and my entire life story is actually pro-Semitic.”

He had previously threatened to file a lawsuit against the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish advocacy group, over its claims that problematic and racist rhetoric had risen on the site since it was taken over.

X is also currently suing the non-profit Media Matters after it accused the site of allowing anti-Semitic posts to be published next to ads. X's lawsuit claims it used “manipulated” data in an attempt to “ruin” the platform.

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