Tourist detained by police after making Nazi salute outside Auschwitz

Woman was arrested and fined for promoting Nazism

Helen Coffey
Tuesday 25 January 2022 10:58 GMT
<p>Auschwitz in Poland </p>

Auschwitz in Poland

A tourist was arrested and detained by police after making a Nazi salute outside Auschwitz, the former concentration camp in Poland.

The 29-year-old Dutch woman was charged with promoting Nazism and fined after she made the salute while posing for photographs taken by her husband on Sunday.

She plead guilty to promoting Nazism after being taken into custody, but described the act as an “ill-considered joke”, reports CNN.

Her husband, 30, was also questioned as a witness.

The Auschwitz Museum, which reported the incident to police, said in a statement that the salute is “associated with terrible human suffering and filled with contempt and hatred”.

“While it should not be present at all in the public space, using it at the site of the former camp is unacceptable,” it continued.

“It is disrespectful to all victims of the camp.

“We hope that the immediate reaction of the security of the Memorial will be a warning to all people who will be considering of using the site of the Memorial as a stage for such shameful manifestations.”

According to a statement released by police on Monday, under Polish law the woman could have faced up to two years in prison for the gesture, made in front of the famous Auschwitz gate, inscribed with the Nazi slogan “Arbeit Macht Frei” - Work Sets You Free.

Police confirmed that the tourist had been fined an undisclosed amount by the District Prosecutor in Krakow.

It’s not the first time a tourist has been reprimanded for behaving disrespectfully at Holocaust memorial sites.

In 2019, visitors to Auschwitz were asked to stop posing for photos while balancing on its infamous railway tracks.

Officials at Auschwitz Memorial, which preserves the site where more than 1.1 million Jews were killed, said visitors must “respect” the memory of the dead.

In a tweet, which included pictures of four people stood on the lines, it said: “There are better places to learn how to walk on a balance beam than the site which symbolises deportation of hundreds of thousands to their deaths.”

In a follow up, it added a section from the site’s regulations: “Visitors to the grounds of the museum should behave with due solemnity and respect.”

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