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I UNDERSTAND
English Section

Dutch woman fined for making Nazi salute at Auschwitz

24.01.2022 09:30
A 29-year-old woman from the Netherlands has been fined for making the Nazi salute at the gates of the former World War II Nazi German death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau in southern Poland.
Entrance to the former Auschwitz death camp with the infamous Arbeit Macht Frei (Work Sets You Free) sign.
Entrance to the former Auschwitz death camp with the infamous "Arbeit Macht Frei" (Work Sets You Free) sign. Photo: PAP/Andrzej Grygiel

The woman was detained on Sunday by the Auschwitz Museum’s security guards after she made the Hitler salute while posing for a photograph for her 30-year-old husband, Poland's PAP news agency reported. 

Bartosz Izdebski, a spokesman for the police in Poland's southern Małopolskie province, told reporters that the couple had subsequently been taken to a police station where the woman's husband was interviewed as a witness. 

The police then alerted prosecutors in the town of Oświęcim. In the late afternoon on Sunday, based on the collected evidence, the prosecutors imposed a fine on the woman, according to officials. 

The 29-year-old pleaded guilty and accepted the fine, “explaining that it was a stupid joke,” the police spokesman said.

In Poland, public promotion of fascism carries a prison sentence of up to two years. 

It was not the first time the Nazi salute was performed at the entrance to the former death camp. In a previous such incident, two Turkish students received a suspended sentence and a fine for making the gesture in 2013, the PAP news agency reported.

The main entrance to Auschwitz, also called the Gate of Death and bearing the infamous slogan “Arbeit Macht Frei,” or "Work Sets You Free," is one of the symbols of the former concentration camp, which was set up by the Nazi Germans in 1940.

The camp witnessed the extermination of at least 1.1 million people, mainly Jews, as well as around 75,000 Poles, with Roma people, Soviet prisoners and people of other nationalities also among the victims.

(pm/gs)

Source: PAP