Anti-Semitic and Holocaust-denying graffiti found at Auschwitz

Fury as anti-Semitic and Holocaust-denying graffiti written in German and English is spray-painted on nine areas of Auschwitz death camp

  • Nine barracks at Auschwitz-Birkenau were vandalised with anti-Semitic graffiti
  • Staff discovered the graffiti on Tuesday, a statement from the memorial said
  • Memorial centre and museum slammed the vandalism as an ‘outrageous attack’
  • Police are investigating and the centre has urged any witnesses to get in touch 

Staff at Auschwitz who discovered anti-Semitic graffiti on the barracks of the former Nazi death camp have condemned the vandalism as an ‘outrageous attack’.

Nine wooden barracks were spray-painted with anti-Semitic phrases and slogans denying the Holocaust, the Auschwitz museum and memorial centre said in a Twitter statement.

The graffiti included phrases in English and German, as well as two references to Old Testament sayings frequently used by anti-Semites, according to the memorial site.

The vandalism was discovered on Tuesday by staff on the barracks of the Auschwitz-Birkenau II site, which was the largest of the 40 camps that made up the Nazi complex.

Staff at Auschwitz have condemned anti-Semitic graffiti discovered on nine of the barracks of the former Nazi death camp 

In a statement, the memorial centre condemned the vandalism as an ‘outrageous attack on the symbol of one of the greatest tragedies in human history’ and said it was a ‘extremely painful blow’ to the memory of the victims of the Nazi camp.

Staff have urged anyone who was in the area on Tuesday morning and may have witnessed the incident to contact them, particularly anyone with photographs taken at the entrance to Birkenau, near the Gate of Death, and at the barracks.

Police are currently investigating the incident. The force is analysing and compiling documentation and reviewing video footage.

A statement added: ‘As soon as the police have compiled all the necessary documentation, the conservators of the Auschwitz memorial will begin removing traces of vandalism from historical building.’

The memorial site said although security measures at the 170-hectare site are being ‘constantly expanded’, fully enclosing the site would not be possible for some time.

The security systems are funded from the Museum’s budget, but the memorial centre said the funds have suffered ‘greatly’ amid the Covid-19 pandemic. 

The vandalism was discovered on Tuesday by staff on the barracks (ruins pictured) of the Auschwitz-Birkenau II site, the largest of the 40 camps that made up the Nazi complex

The Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum and Memorial preserves the Auschwitz death camp set up on Polish soil by Nazi Germany during World War Two. 

More than 1.1 million people, most of them Jews, perished in gas chambers at the camp or from starvation, cold and disease.

In 2010, a Swedish man was jailed for two years and eight months for plotting the theft of the infamous 15ft Arbeit macht frei metal sign, which hangs over the camp’s entrance.

The deceitful Nazi slogan, which translates to Work Sets You Free, was meant to convey to the prisoners who passed under it that they could attain ‘spiritual’ freedom through hard work for the Fatherland.

But for most, it was the inscription on a gateway to a living hell. 

The theft occurred in the night between December 17 and December 18, 2009.

Police tracked down the sign less than three days after it was stolen, finding it cut into three pieces in a forest.

Although vandalism at the memorial site is rare, the wall of a Jewish cemetery near the camp was also defaced with swastikas earlier this year. 

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