Elon Musk
Elon MuskREUTERS/Patrick T. Fallon

Twitter owner Elon Musk faced a barrage of criticism on Monday after posting a satirical tweet with an archival photo of a Nazi soldier.

The tweet said, “How times have changed” and included a photo of a soldier carrying a container of three carrier pigeons. The pic was captioned “3 unread messages.”

A follow-up tweet said: “Back when birds were real.” And another from the Twitter CEO, who has 115 million followers, compared the birds to Twitter's bird logo, “But if Twitter is bird, that’s means…”

But a steady stream of users quickly pointed out that the soldier in the black and white photo was a Wehrmacht soldier from Nazi Germany, questioning why Musk used that specific photo in the tweet, and wondering if it was indeed accidental.

Human rights lawyer Arsen Ostrovsky commented: “Hi Elon, not sure if you did so intentionally, but that picture is of a Nazi soldier. Given the relentless hate already directed at Jews on this platform, and this week marking 84 years since the Kristallnacht, may I respectfully ask you to please withdraw this image. Thank you.”

As of Tuesday morning, Musk’s tweet with the original image was still up.

Getty Images lists the photo in its archives, describing it as “a German Wehrmacht soldier part of the unified Nazi armed forces — carrying messenger pigeons on the Western front during the German invasion of France, known as the Battle of France, in WWII, circa May 1940,” according to the New York Post.

The image has a disclaimer saying: “Images depicting historical events may contain themes, or have descriptions, that do not reflect current understanding.”