Far-right Poles protest government at Auschwitz on Holocaust Remembrance Day
search

Far-right Poles protest government at Auschwitz on Holocaust Remembrance Day

Demonstrators falsely claim annual memorial remembers only Jews, as ceremony pays homage to 1.1 million victims of death camp

A Polish far-right activist, Piotr Rybak,right, and other nationalists gather outside the memorial site of Auschwitz in Oswiecim, Poland, on Sunday Jan. 27, 2019. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)
A Polish far-right activist, Piotr Rybak,right, and other nationalists gather outside the memorial site of Auschwitz in Oswiecim, Poland, on Sunday Jan. 27, 2019. (AP Photo/Czarek Sokolowski)

WARSAW, Poland — A far-right Polish activist gathered with other nationalists outside the former Auschwitz death camp to protest Poland’s government.

The man, Piotr Rybak, accuses the government of remembering only Jews and not murdered Poles in yearly observances at the memorial site.

The accusation is incorrect. The Auschwitz observances are inclusive and ecumenical, paying homage to all of the camp’s victims.

Rybak and about 45 others carrying the national flag hope to enter the Holocaust memorial site to place a wreath on the 74th anniversary of the liberation of the Nazi death camp. The far-right activist has previously been imprisoned for burning the effigy of a Jew.

The incident comes amid a surge of right-wing extremism in Poland.

Anti-government protesters shout slogans during ceremonies marking the 50th anniversary of student protests that were exploited by the communists to purge Jews from Poland, at the Warsaw University in Warsaw, Poland, Thursday, March 8, 2018. (AP /Alik Keplicz)

The camp was liberated by Soviet forces on January 27, 1945.

Most of the 1.1 million people murdered by Nazi German forces at the camp during World War II were Jews. Other victims include Poles, Roma and Soviet prisoners of war.

Earlier in the day, former prisoners of Auschwitz placed flowers at an execution wall at the former Nazi German death camp on the 74th anniversary of the camp’s liberation and what is now International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

The survivors wore striped scarves that recalled their uniforms, some with the red letter “P,” the symbol the Germans used to mark them as Poles.

Early in World War II, most prisoners were Poles, rounded up by the occupying German forces. Later, Auschwitz was transformed into a mass killing site for Jews, Roma and others.

A ceremony is planned later Sunday near the ruins of the gas chambers to honor the 1.1 million people killed there and all Holocaust victims, one of several worldwide observances.

read more:
less
comments
more