Respect Equality

Tourist arrested, fined for Nazi salute at Auschwitz

Story at a glance

  • A Dutch woman was reportedly arrested after she gave a Nazi salute near the main gate at Auschwitz-Birkenau.
  • The 29-year-old woman made the gesture while posing for pictures in front of the gate, which bears the words “Arbeit Macht Frei,” police said.
  • The woman has been fined by the District Prosecutor in Krakow.

A Dutch woman was reportedly arrested and fined on Sunday after she gave a Nazi salute near the main gate at the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in Poland.  

The 29-year-old woman made the gesture while posing for pictures in front of the gate, which bears the words “Arbeit Macht Frei,” which means “Work sets you free,” police said, according to CNN 

A police spokesperson told CNN on Monday that Auschwitz Museum guards reported the woman, who admitted to promoting Nazism when questioned, referring to the act as “only an ill-considered joke.” Her husband, who took the picture at the former camp in Poland, was also questioned.  

The woman has been fined by the District Prosecutor in Krakow. 


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Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Auschwitz Museum told the network in a statement that making the gesture is unacceptable anywhere but especially profane at the camp.  

“While it should not be present at all in the public space, using it at the site of the former camp is unacceptable. It is disrespectful to all victims of the camp,” the statement read.  

“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,” the statement continued.  

Historians estimate around 1.1 million people were murdered at Auschwitz, including 1 million Jews. Auschwitz was different from other camps because it contained a “concentration camp and a labor camp as well as large gas chambers and crematoria at Birkenau constructed for the mass murder of European Jews,” according to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum. 


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