Polish teens probed over photo of Nazi salute at Auschwitz
search

Polish teens probed over photo of Nazi salute at Auschwitz

Museum spokesman says incident shows importance of education, months after spat between Israel and Poland over the latter’s Holocaust law

Image posted to Instagram and later deleted showing three youngsters performing a salute at Auschwitz, October 2018 (via Instagram)
Image posted to Instagram and later deleted showing three youngsters performing a salute at Auschwitz, October 2018 (via Instagram)

WARSAW, Poland — Three Polish teens who made a Nazi salute at the site of the former Auschwitz-Birkenau camp will be investigated by the local prosecutor’s office.

One of the teens posted a photo on Instagram of the three making the gesture in front of the Death Gate, the entrance to Auschwitz II, or Birkenau, where trains rolled through bringing thousands of Hungarian Jews to be gassed.

A representative of the Auschwitz-Birkenau state museum discovered the photo on social media. It was later removed but saved in a screenshot.

Museum officials filed a complaint with the District Prosecutor’s Office in Oswięcim, where the camp is located. Propagating fascism is illegal in Poland.

“This is shocking behavior — especially in such a tragic place,” Pawel Sawicki, a museum spokesman, told JTA. “The place where innocent people were imprisoned and murdered as a result of the criminal ideology of German Nazism.”

“Such behavior, although fortunately extremely rare, is particularly painful when it concerns young people. It also shows how important it is not only to educate and to bring the youth up properly, but also to make people sensitive to the tragedy of all the victims of Auschwitz.”

The incident comes months after a diplomatic spat between Israel and Poland over the latter’s Holocaust law, later amended, which imposed penalties for blaming Nazi crimes on the country.

The dispute with Israel sparked a wave of anti-Semitic rhetoric in Poland, even by members of the government and commentators in public media, as well as hate speech directed against Poles abroad.

read more:
comments