(RNS) An Alabama teen who faced criticism for posting a smiling snapshot of herself in front of the Auschwitz concentration camp is defending her actions, saying that it was a tribute to her father who passed away.

Breanna Mitchell posted the selfie on June 20. About a month later, it went viral.

On June 20, 2014, Breanna Mitchell posted a selfie on the grounds of the Auschwitz Concentration Camp. The photo went viral about a month later, after it was picked up by media outlets. For use with RNS-AUSCHWITZ-SELFIE transmitted July 24, 2014. Photo courtesy Breanna Mitchell

On June 20, 2014, Breanna Mitchell posted a selfie on the grounds of the Auschwitz Concentration Camp. The photo went viral about a month later, after it was picked up by media outlets. For use with RNS-AUSCHWITZ-SELFIE transmitted July 24, 2014. Photo courtesy Breanna MitchellPhoto courtesy Breanna Mitchell

“Honestly, I don’t think I would do anything differently because I didn’t mean any harm,” Mitchell told TakePart Live in a video interview posted to YouTube on July 21.

On July 20, she posted on Twitter, “I’m famous y’all” as her story got picked up by media outlets.

Mitchell’s example brings to light the debate over taking selfies in front of places such as Auschwitz and the 9/11 Memorial Museum where so many people lost their lives. Critics suggested the incident pointed to a need to help young people develop digital decorum.

“If you’re going to stick your tongue out or make a duck face in front of the World Trade Center, I think that’s probably inappropriate,” Lizzie Post, great-great-granddaughter of manners maven Emily Post, told ABC News.

Since the social media backlash, Mitchell has received some support from people who have seen her story in the media. Her Twitter profile is now set to private.

“The Holocaust and World War II is the only thing that’s ever interested me in history,” Mitchell told TakePart Live.

She said it was also her father’s favorite part of history. “Whenever I graduated, [my parents] said they’d take me out of the States to go wherever I wanted. [My dad] died one year prior to that photo,” Mitchell added.

(Jessica Durando writes for USA Today.)



  1. Oh mylanta. First, this is not a story. Its a media wonk scrapping social networks to find a “story” that can be easily sensationalized across a audience who is too entitled, too protected, and too self centered. Thes last three traits make you uber easily offended.

    Here is thr reality of it folks. You will never be able to legislate away “hate”, opinions, or any combination thereof. You can force compliance,but not appreciation. And without the ability to force the latter, all forced compliance will do is breed more disdain. You cannot negatively reinforce is with punishment, and you cannot positively reinforce it via manufactured reverence….which is what this article is all about.

    The cold truth is, someone somewhere at this moment does not think like you or act like you. Your attempts to get them to do so via gov intervention lessens their freedom, breeds more contempt, and possibly means you are a coddled person who enjoys consuming self aggrandizing lies which is a mental illnes unto itself.

    Now everyone here who is an adult and values a free organic society….start acting like it.

    • I think you must have too many browser tabs open. Seems like this comment was meant for another story, because it has absolutely zip to with this one. Unless you really are defending the poor manners of the self-absorbed youth of today.

      • Oh no. Not defending the entertainment soaked youth. But I am saying they learned their shallow ways some where….as in the generations prior.

        Only a “me” generation has the arrogance to demand others bow at their alters. This young girl, was only doing what the bubbleheads do absolutely everywhere. They take selfies in the bathroom for crying out loud. How mundane and everyday of an event….and yet they want to glamorize their public personas there? So dumb.

        But she goes to a historical site and takes the obligatory selfie and its blasted to a similarly self centered audience to get a reaction…because they know it will. The people who are offended cry here. And since she is not reacting the same way, controversy is sure to ensue.

        Hopefully, you will be offended enough to write a bunch of new laws censoring anything a jew says is “anti semitic” including selfies at this place, punishable by a permanently posted, horridly photoshopped selfie of the offender on their facebook page forever.

        I swear, you are fed this stuff for a reason. And the reason is to get you to demand more censorship of yourselves.

    • My point stands. You cannot force appreciation. Is still hold my opinion on the topic you bring up. I still think they are freaks. My logic: how can you love someone who you know you might physically harm just by engaging in that variety of sexual intercourse? Of you love someone you do not risk harming them

      I recall it was volley I had with carrotcakeman, who I later found out was a ACLU blogger activist with a yabberz account 5000 posts long, all highly concentrated in gay rights. He was there for an agenda. Not logic. Not honest conversation.

      I don’t honestly think anyone should be plugged or castrated. That was my emotion to his oh so overused and offputting “your a christian hater” chanting. I observe Curious, you excluded my retraction of the plugged and castrated part, which was part of thd volley.

      But I am curious….Curious. What did you find so offensive in my OP that would make you search up old threads in an attempt to delegitimize my opinion?

      Are you that disappointed that people cannot be forced to appreciate one another via state intervention? This was the main point of my original post….and it did send you searching.

      • It takes about ten seconds to google up a post that I specifically remember. Don’t get all excited thinking it takes hours of work.

        At any rate, my comment was not intended to convince you of your own hypocrisy–that would be impossible, given your total lack of self-awareness. You’ll never understand that you are exactly the kind of petty fascist that you profess to despise. I posted for the benefit of any poor souls who might have read your inspiring rally cry against enforced conformity without realizing that you don’t really believe it.

        • I don’t believe a gay relationship is state of being that warrants marriage.

          I don’t believe you can force honest appreciation of an opposing worldview on anybody, be it secular or religious.

          I think it horrific to try to force a worldview on a people via a heavy handed gov.

          I think in general, special laws for special people who do special things creates a society of inequality and entitled, easily offended people who demand protection not available to others.

          Those are my points. I honestly don’t see the hypocrisy. I’m obviously just sick of gov social engineering.

          • My point still stands, actually. You are ranting about things that have nothing to do with this story. Who said anything anywhere about the government or censorship and this silly selfie? The more you write, though, the more I realize that your comments are basically nothing more than verbal selfies, posted for your own exhibitionist gratification.

  2. “Critics suggested the incident pointed to a need to help young people develop digital decorum.”

    The twitter-sphere is a self-correcting system. Nobody wants to be remembered for doing a dumb thing. (delete)(delete)(delete)

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