KRAKOW, Poland – KRAKOW, Poland (AP) – Elon Musk, accused of allowing anti-Semitic messages on his social media site X, visited the site of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp on Monday and later said sadly. The Holocaust “hits your heart more when you see it in person.”
He admits to being “naive” about the extent of anti-Semitism until recently because most of his friends were Jewish and he said he had little contact with it in his own life.
“In the circles I move in, I see almost no anti-Semitism,” Musk said at the conference in a discussion with Daily Wire podcaster Ben Shapiro. “Also, this old joke of 'I got a Jewish friend like this. . .' No, two-thirds of my friends are Jewish. I have twice as many Jewish friends as non-Jewish friends. I'm Jewish by association, and I'm Jewish by passion.
He defended his X site as a place where freedom of speech flourished, saying that the free exchange of ideas ultimately helps to correct hatred, noting that the Nazis stifled freedom of the press and information.
“The main goal of the X platform is to be the best source of truth in the world,” he said. “X's goal is to relentlessly seek the truth and allow people to say what they want to say, even if it's controversial, as long as it doesn't violate the law.”
The billionaire has faced accusations from the Anti-Defamation League, a prominent Jewish civil rights organization, that he has tolerated anti-Semitic messages on the platform, formerly known as Twitter, since his purchase in 2022.
He sparked an outcry in November, including from the White House, when he responded on X to a user who accused Jews of hating whites and condoning Jewish bigotry, saying, “You told the real truth.” He later apologized for the comment, calling it a “dumb” post he made.
Several major brands, including Disney and IBM, stopped advertising on the platform last year after liberal advocacy group Media Matters said their ads appeared alongside pro-Nazi content and white nationalist posts. X sued Media Matters, a Washington-based nonprofit, saying it produced the report to “drive advertisers off the platform and destroy X Corp.”
Musk visited the Auschwitz-Birkenau site with his 3-year-old son and others, including Shapiro and Rabbi Menachem Margolin, founder and president of the European Jewish Association. The site near the town of Oswiecim in southern Poland is fenced off with barbed wire. The ruins of the wooden prison camps and gas chambers are evidence of Nazi crimes. There is also a memorial to the victims where commemorations are held annually.
“It's incredibly moving and deeply sad and tragic that humans can do this to other humans,” Musk said of the visit. “I'm a student of history, so I've seen pictures, I've seen videos, but … when you see it in person it hits you in the heart more.”
Musk was expected to visit on Tuesday and participate in a memorial service with political figures attending the EJA conference in Krakow, but instead showed up at the Nazi death camp on Monday.
Prior to Elon Musk's arrival at the European Jewish Association conference, he participated in a private visit to Auschwitz-Birkenau with EJA President Rabbi Menachem Margolin, Ben Shapiro and Holocaust survivor Gidan Lev. Musk laid a wreath at the Wall of Death and participated in a short memorial ceremony and service at the Birkenau Memorial,” EJA said in an email.
Oliver Bradley, an EJA media consultant, said the organization “challenged” Musk to visit Auschwitz several months ago during a Zoom conference on anti-Semitism on social media.
“Musk shrugged off the fact that he already knew the history of the Holocaust … the visit wouldn't be an impactful experience,” Bradley said.
But EJA president Margolin said Bradley “successfully convinced Musk of the need to experience the place of genocide in order to begin to truly discover the dimension of the Holocaust.”
X, the social media platform that Musk bought when it was known as Twitter, did not respond to a request for comment about his trip, sending an automated message that said, “Busy right now, please check back later.” SpaceX, Musk's rocket company, did not respond to emailed requests for comment.
Jan. On the 27th, an EJA conference on anti-Semitism was held in Krakow on the occasion of International Holocaust Remembrance Day.
More than 1.1 million people were killed at Auschwitz by the Nazis and their accomplices during World War II. Most of those killed were Jews, but victims included Poles, Roma, Soviet prisoners of war, and others. In total, about 6 million European Jews died during the Holocaust. When the Soviets liberated the camp, they found about 7,000 survivors.
Musk said that if social media had existed during World War II, the Holocaust would have been “impossible to hide” and lives saved.