Uproar over ‘satirical’ Czech bus advertising Auschwitz vacations
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Uproar over ‘satirical’ Czech bus advertising Auschwitz vacations

Old movie prop promoting the Nazi death camp as fun holiday destination decried by local Holocaust survivors, Jewish leaders

A bus in the Czech Republic advertising the Nazi death camp Auschwitz as fun holiday destination that was originally made as a film prop seen on the website of the Auto Xaver bus company on August 16, 2016. (autoxaver.com)
A bus in the Czech Republic advertising the Nazi death camp Auschwitz as fun holiday destination that was originally made as a film prop seen on the website of the Auto Xaver bus company on August 16, 2016. (autoxaver.com)

A “satirical” tour bus in the Czech Republic advertising the Nazi death camp Auschwitz as a fun holiday destination has been condemned by Holocaust survivors and local Jewish leaders.

The camp’s notorious sign “Arbeit Macht Frei” (“Work sets you free”) is seen emblazoned on the side of the double-decker bus alongside a large Star of David and images of real Jewish victims murdered by Nazi Germany.

Text along the side of the bus cheerfully urges people to “Come to Auschwitz — A journey through emotions,” and notes, “Our guides speak Czech!”

The bus was originally made as a film prop for a satirical movie by Czech director Vit Klusak examining the emerging Holocaust tourist industry in Eastern Europe.

However, after filming was completed the bus was sold to a local tour company that has refused to remove the decorations.

Critics have slammed the bus advertisements as insensitive and have called for the bus to be repainted.

Holocaust survivor Erika Bezdickova, whose entire family were murdered at Auschwitz, said she was “absolutely appalled when I spotted the bus,” according to Britain’s Daily Mail.

“I think that only a person with no moral decency could make a business out of the Auschwitz catastrophe,” she added. “Not only is it reprehensible, but those responsible should be punished too.”

According to the report, Prague Jewish Museum Director Leo Pavlat has contacted the bus owner requesting the images be removed immediately.

The owner, Svatopluk Xaver, said he cannot afford the $1,670 it would cost to remove the stickers and repaint the vehicle.

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