This content is not available in your region

Anti-Semitic graffiti found at Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp

Access to the comments Comments
By Josephine Joly
Picture taken 12 January 2005 shows the main gate entering the Nazi Auschwitz death camp.
Picture taken 12 January 2005 shows the main gate entering the Nazi Auschwitz death camp.   -   Copyright  JANEK SKARZYNSKI / AFP

Anti-Semitic graffiti and slogans have been found at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.

Nine barracks were spray-painted with anti-Semitic phrases in both English and German as well as two references to often-used Old Testament sayings frequently used by anti-Semites, the Auschwitz Memorial said in a statement on Twitter.

The memorial, in charge of the preservation of the site, condemned the act as "an outrageous attack on the symbol of one of the great tragedies in human history and an extremely painful blow to the memory of all the victims of the German Nazi Auschwitz-Birkenau camp".

A total of 1.1 million prisoners, or about 85 per cent of people sent to Auschwitz, died in gas chambers or from starvation, cold, and disease at the camp, which was set up by Nazi Germany during World War II.

Police have been informed of the incident and are investigating.

Staff are also calling on anyone who may have witnessed the incident on Tuesday morning to contact them, especially anyone with photos taken around the Gate of Death, at the entrance to Birkenau, and the wooden barracks.

The statement also noted that the security system at the 170-hectare site was "constantly being expanded". However, the system is financed from the museum's budget, which has been badly hit during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Fully enclosing the site would not be possible for some time", it added.

EU Vice-President Margaritis Schinas condemned the vandalism saying "Antisemitism is incompatible with our values and our way of life. and We shall combat it in all its forms."

The conservators of the memorial said they would remove the markings after the police finished gathering evidence.