Tourist At Auschwitz Detained After Doing Nazi Salute As 'Bad Joke'
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A tourist was detained after she was seen doing the Nazi salute on a visit to the Auschwitz death camp.
The 29-year-old, from the Netherlands, made the offensive gesture in front of the entrance to the camp, where an estimated 1.1 million people were killed during the Holocaust.
She was caught performing the salute while her husband took a photo of her standing in front of the gate, which has the words 'Arbeit Macht Frei' (Work Sets You Free) written across the top.
She was arrested and later charged with engaging in Nazi propaganda.
The woman was fined an undisclosed amount.
Bartosz Izdebski, a spokesperson for the regional police, told PAP: "She explained it away as a bad joke."
In a post to Twitter about the incident, police also said: "Officers from (the southern city of) Oswiecim detained a 29-year-old woman from the Netherlands today.
"The tourist had been performing the Hitler salute in front of the ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’ (Work Sets You Free) gate.
"The detainee was charged with engaging in Nazi propaganda. She confessed."
They added: "The detainee was charged with promoting Nazism.
"The woman confessed. Such offence is punishable by a fine, restriction of liberty or imprisonment for up to two years."
Over the past year or so, there has been a growing trend among Covid deniers and sceptics to make links between political decisions made during the pandemic to Nazi Germany - most notably vaccine documentation.
But the Auschwitz Memorial has spoken out after a US politician criticised local rules that require residents to wear masks and have proof of vaccination.
Replying to a tweet from Muriel Bowser, the Mayor of Washington, D.C., about the mandate, Ohio Congressman Warren Davidson shared a photo of a health card issued to a young woman during the Nazi regime.
Posting the picture, Davidson said: "This has been done before. #DoNotComply."
He later expanded on the post in the comments, writing: "Let’s recall that the Nazis dehumanized Jewish people before segregating them, segregated them before imprisoning them, imprisoned them before enslaving them, and enslaved them before massacring them."
However, the link was deemed highly offensive by the Auschwitz Memorial, which preserves the site of the Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp.
Commenting on the post, a spokesperson for the centre said Davidson was 'exploiting' the unimaginable brutality Jews experienced at the hands of the Nazis.
They said: "Exploiting of the tragedy of all people who between 1933-45 suffered, were humiliated, tortured and murdered by the totalitarian regime of Nazi Germany in a debate about vaccines and Covid limitations in the time of global pandemic is a sad symptom of moral and intellectual decay."