Approval for disco at Auschwitz site sparks outrage

Click to follow
The Independent Online

To Jewish anger, Polish authorities have given permission for a disco to open near the Auschwitz memorial - in a disused tannery where slave labourers were worked to death during the Second World War.

To Jewish anger, Polish authorities have given permission for a disco to open near the Auschwitz memorial - in a disused tannery where slave labourers were worked to death during the Second World War.

Up to one and a half million people were murdered at Auschwitz, the world's most notorious death camp,as part of the Nazis' Final Solution. Today, it is a memorial to the Holocaust, known for its harrowing dignity.

But the local authorities in Oswiecim - the Polish name for the town - have given permission for a disco to open in the tannery, just over a mile from the camp itself.

"Young Poles are being encouraged to dance in the vicinity of the largest Jewish graveyard in history," said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, of the US-based Simon Wiesenthal Centre, which led international Jewish condemnation of the decision. "It is difficult to put into words the level of rage felt by victims of the Nazis and world Jewry."

Rabbi Cooper said the decision was "mocking the victims of Auschwitz".

It is the second time in recent weeks that controversy has erupted over the memorial. The Polish Interior Minister recently overturned a decision by the provincial governor, who refused permission for a new visitors' centre, shopping mall and car park to be built near the site.

Now the disco plan has created an even bigger furore. "I'm surprised a discotheque should be situated in the vicinity of the camp, as if there was no other place in Poland for it," said Jozef Garlinski, a historian and former inmate of Auschwitz.

Comments