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Fact check: Were Ukrainian refugees invited to stay at former Nazi camp?

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By Matthew Holroyd
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These false claims caused a lot of controversy online
These false claims caused a lot of controversy online   -   Copyright  Euronews // Telegram

Claims have spread online that Ukrainian refugees were invited to stay at a former Nazi concentration camp in Germany.

Social media users alleged that people fleeing the Ukraine war could be housed at a temporary hotel at the Sachsenhausen Memorial near Berlin.

The claims were widely spread by pro-Kremlin Telegram channels, as well as by some Twitter users in German, Italian, and Polish.

The Sachsenhausen Memorial - once one of the biggest concentration camps in Germany - has denied the rumours as "fake". 

Euronews has fact-checked these claims, finding them false. 

One photo circulating online claims that the barracks at the former concentration camp have been decorated with banners in Ukrainian colours reading "Welcome Home" in German. 

Using open-source fact-checking tools to verify images, Euronews found that the photo had been digitally altered and that the alleged "welcome" banners were artificially added.

The original photo of the Sachsenhausen Memorial barracks was first published on a German tourism website in 2019.

Euronews via Invid
Open-source image verification tools indicate that the photo has been alteredEuronews via Invid

There is no archived record that the Sachsenhausen Memorial had invited Ukrainian refugees to stay on the grounds of the former concentration camp.

In a statement on social media, the memorial's administration firmly denied the allegations and says it will "take legal action against this fake".

"We condemn the increasing use of fake news with references to Nazi history to carry out crude propaganda," the statement added. "We counter this with science-based history education."

It is unclear who is behind the misinformation and digitally altered image.

According to the United Nations, more than five million refugees have now left Ukraine since the war broke out on 24 February, while seven million are still thought to be inside Ukraine itself. 

This is not the first time that there have been attempts to discredit Ukrainian refugees in Europe. 

Last month, a viral video falsely claimed that Ukrainian refugees set fire to a house in Germany while attempting to burn a Russian flag.