CrossFitter and social media star Dave Driskell is in hot water after he posted a photo of himself doing a handstand atop a Holocaust memorial on Monday. The Instagram photo, which has since been taken down, show Driskell holding himself aloft on top of one of thousands of slabs, or stalae, at the Memorial to the Murdered Jews of Europe in Berlin.
According to the post, Driskell was in the German city for a 15-hour layover between flights. He wrote, “Hello Berlin, Germany. 15 hour layover. Checking the sites. Drinking the beers. Eating the bratwurst. #vagabond #wanderlustwods #handstands #365daysofhandstands.”
The memorial consists of 2,711 concrete slabs of different heights. The meaning of the slabs is up for debate, but it seems to want to evoke several things. A proper cemetery, for massacred Jews who were dumped into pits, is one obvious reading. Another is that the memorial aims to convey the feeling of a subtle but intimately disorienting chaos lurking underneath a facade of normalcy. Some people like the memorial, many others do not.
Some people walk along the corridors created by the slabs. Some people sit in the park nestled into the memorial and check their phones. Some people get drunk or sunbathe. Others choose to do handstands, and those people probably do Crossfit.
This particular Crossfitter deleted his Instagram post after harsh criticism in the comments. Here we commemorate his act.
UPDATED (8:30 p.m.) Driskell emailed me the following apology note:
Id like to apologize for any offense the last picture I posted has caused. I had a quick layover in Berlin today with a good friend and we walked all around the city looking at and enjoying all the beauty it has to offer. We walked near this memorial not knowing what it was at the time. People were walking on the pillars. Kids running around. People sitting on them. It was gorgeous and looked visually stunning. As with all things like this I wanted a picture next to it, as I have been doing for years. I took a handstand picture with it as the background. I truly did not know what the structure was.
I feel completely terrible as I would never purposely offend or disrespect this memorial had I known. I posted the picture using the wifi from a local cafe and then went back to exploring the city. It wasn’t until later tonight at the airport that I realized my error in understanding what this structure was.
I’ve been doing handstands all over the world since I started this amazing wanderlust adventure that has inspired people all over the world.
Earlier this year I flew to India to help with a charitable event which raised over $24,000.00 to help the orphans and needy in India. I love to promote fitness and inspire people to do something different than the norm: To be epic. To be fit. To help others. To chase happiness. To show love!
I love all and strive to show that through my passions of travel and fitness.
Again I apologize for this horrible misunderstanding and any offense this might have caused.
Anyone who knows me, know this is the complete opposite of what I would want.
I respectfully ask your forgiveness