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Tourist arrested for giving Nazi salute outside gates of Auschwitz

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By Euronews  with DPA
The words "Work Sets You Free" are seen on the gate of the Auschwitz former Nazi death camp in Oswiecim.
The words "Work Sets You Free" are seen on the gate of the Auschwitz former Nazi death camp in Oswiecim.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Markus Schreiber, file

A Dutch tourist has been arrested in Poland for giving the Nazi salute outside the gates of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp.

Authorities in southern Poland confirmed that a 29-year-old woman had been detained after the incident on Sunday.

Bartosz Izdebski, head of the press office of the Auschwitz Memorial Museum, said the tourist had asked her husband to take a photo of her in front of the Arbeit Macht Frei (Work Sets You Free) gate.

Guards called the police when they noticed her giving the Nazi salute. The woman's husband was also detained.

The two were taken to a police station in the southern town of Oswiecim for questioning and the woman was fined.

The tourist told the authorities that her gesture was "a stupid joke", which she said she regretted.

In Poland, publicly supporting any symbols or gestures of the Nazi regime can lead to up to two years' imprisonment.

In 2013, two Turkish students were fined and given a six-month prison sentence for giving the Nazi salute outside the camp's main gates.

The Auschwitz Memorial Museum has also asked visitors not to take photos of themselves walking on the railway tracks leading to the camp.

"There are better places to learn how to balance than the site that symbolises the deportation of hundreds of thousands of people to their death," they added on Twitter.

The Auschwitz-Birkenau complex of camps was set up on Polish soil by Nazi Germany during World War Two. More than 1.1 million people, mostly Jews, died there, of starvation, cold and disease or in Birkenau’s gas chambers.

Additional sources • EFE