Yet again, Netflix has gone way too far.
In case you missed the news, Stranger Things season 4 filmed several scenes — particularly the ones where Jim Hopper is in a Russian Prison — at a concentration camp in Lithuania.
The camp in question is Lukiškės Prison, which was turned into a concentration camp by the Nazis during the Holocaust and used to hold Jews from the Vilna Ghetto on their way to execution. It’s estimated that at least 75,000 Jews were brutally shot and murdered there.
The concentration camp is a huge backdrop for season 4, appearing as early as episode 2 and in almost every episode after.
As if filming in a place where thousands of Jews were executed (which is wrong in the first place) wasn’t bad enough, Netflix and Airbnb have decided to turn those grounds into a fun, spooky experience. They’ve even given the venue a cute and cozy 80’s theme to make sure you forget the actual history of the place you’re staying.
It’s honestly unclear how this idea got okayed by anyone. How do people not understand that mass grave sites are not the place for you to live out your fun fantasies?
To use a concentration camp for fun, spooky pictures is abhorrent. You can’t ignore the very ethics of the fact that you are standing on the graves of people that didn’t even get the decency of having a proper burial. The idea that Netflix is now turning the trauma of Jewish people into a cute background for your fun weekend getaway is disgusting.
There are probably many people who don’t get what the big deal is. But these concentration camps still hold an intergenerational trauma for those that survived and their children. The camps hold a very real, very painful history that will never go away.
It’s clear how heavily influenced Stranger Things is by the Holocaust, particularly in season 4. In the show, children are taken away from their families, stripped of any and all identifications, have their heads shaven, and are abused and tattooed.
These incidents may seem small if you’re a casual viewer, or not Jewish, but the more you look at it, and the more you look at it through a lens of a Jewish person, or even an ally, these are coincidences that you would be remiss to overlook.
Take Eleven’s tattoo on her wrist, a direct reference to the tattoos the Nazis gave to Jewish prisoners. They gave that tattoo to Eleven to replicate why Jewish people were forced to get tattoos — to take away their humanity and make them into nothing more than a number. It’s safe to assume the writers understood the story they were telling by giving a tattoo like that to a fictional character. As a result, it’s now a trend that people are begging viewers to stop.
When you consume media, it’s incredibly important to consume it responsibly. There are so many people trying to rewrite history or just simply ignore it so they can monetize it. It’s important to recognize the rising anti-Semitism that Stranger Things season 4 is building on.
Netflix and Airbnb most likely know that they are contributing to the disrespect of the near genocide of an entire people. But it’s our responsibility as consumers to make sure that Netflix knows that we are not okay with this and demand a stop to this disgusting Airbnb venture.