Why I'm So Glad Katy Perry Visited Auschwitz

Singer Katy Perry performed at the Krakow Arena on Tuesday night as part of her latest European tour. With a day off in between playing Krakow and Vienna, there are a number of things Ms Perry could have chosen to do. She could have walked around Krakow, taking in the main square of the Old Town, Wawel Castle and, perhaps, the Jewish Quarter. She could have stayed in her hotel room, getting a lie-in before heading off for some food and a couple of drinks. Or she could have left Poland the morning after her gig to travel to Vienna and see the city before her next concert.
But, instead, she decided to use her free day to visit the Auschwitz Museum.

During her visit, Perry uploaded this photograph to Instagram, including a caption that echoes the English plaque on the International Memorial at the end of the train tracks in Birkenau:

I find this photograph very interesting; she did not decide to take a picture of the 'Arbeit Macht Frei' gate or the main gate at Birkenau, which many people choose to share. More importantly, however, she did not include herself in this picture, and that I find truly refreshing.
One could be perfectly cynical about this visit and assume that Katy Perry visited a concentration camp to gain good publicity, but I don't feel that's the case here. There were no updates on her social media accounts letting people know that she would be visiting, and there don't appear to have been any press photographers with her during her tour. The Instagram photo she shared is tasteful and respectful, without any crude 'hashtags'. This visit is clearly in better taste than fellow pop star Justin Bieber's visit to the Anne Frank House in Amsterdam, where he arrogantly asserted that Frank might have been a 'belieber' (one of his fans).

Ultimately, Katy Perry is human. A famous human, but someone with her own independent thoughts, feelings and desires. Although I'm sure she did not visit Auschwitz to gain approval from fans and followers, I feel that this is exactly the kind of event that the media should be publicising (after it has taken place, of course. There would be nothing worse than photographers trampling all over each other to get a photograph of a celebrity visiting a concentration camp.). Even if someone following Katy Perry on Instagram now decides they will try and visit the camp because she has been, it's a start. They can go and educate themselves about Auschwitz and the Holocaust, and hopefully gain an experience that is eventually detached from the celebrity association.

I am so glad to see this important visit being picked up on in the media, rather than the current banal focus on who wore what to the Oscars and Madonna's fall at the Brit Awards. For taking the time to make such a significant trip, I say: Thank you, Katy Perry.