This was actually brought to my attention on Friday evening, I was going to write something immediately after I saw it but I thought I would wait to process the event. This gave me a chance to consider all sides and possible thought processes.
The incident took place beneath the main gate of Auschwitz, which bears the infamous slogan “Arbeit Macht Frei” (“Work sets you free”). The museum said “a group of people killed a sheep, undressed and chained themselves together”.
Police have detained at least 11 people after the demonstration and the individuals are said to be aged 20 to 27. The seven men and four women included six Poles, four Belarusians and one German.
The demonstrators could be charged with insulting a monument or symbolic place, which may result in a fine or a restriction of liberty, according to the police.
Local media report that they used a drone to film the demonstration, and saw a draped white banner with the red text “love” over the gate.
Some Polish media say the action was a protest against the war in Ukraine. The war in Ukraine is still raging between pro-Russian groups and the Ukrainian government since the aftermath of the 2014 Ukrainian revolution and the annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation.
My thoughts on this are obviously of anger, in that a war in the Ukraine suddenly needs a demonstration from people that aren’t Ukrainian in Poland. The logic of that alone I haven’t been able to get my head around. But the other obvious problem I have is that they decided to do it at Auschwitz, why? It’s disrespectful to the memory of those who died as victims of the Nazis, which is around 1.1 million people, 1 million of whom where Jewish. I find it ridiculous that these people can use the symbol of Auschwitz for any kind of manifestation or something completely unrelated, it’s unacceptable.
I would normally argue that these people need to be taught a lesson from this and not necessarily punished for their act, but the book needs to be thrown, and thrown hard. By making an example of these people and punishing them severely will put serious doubt into people’s minds if their “cause” is worth it, to disrespect the global Jewish population and those who were murdered. Auschwitz and Birkenau are the symbols of the Shoah to the Jews and doing anything at these historic places that has nothing to do with what occurred there is just so wrong.
Words fail me, I can’t fully express how annoyed this has actually made me. As I write more I get more angered, because it just seems that their demonstration gets worse and worse for those it disrespects, for the obvious symbol that Auschwitz represents, for these people to do such a thing is outrageous.