Authorities are investigating after fascist symbols were scrawled on to the walls of a Jewish cemetery, which is near the Auschwitz concentration camp in formerly German Nazi occupied Poland.
The unsettling images of the vandalism were shared by the Auschwitz Memorial on Twitter and show a swastika and SS bolts painted on the wall of the Oświęcim Jewish cemetery.
“The exterior wall of the Oświęcim Jewish cemetery - a remnant and memorial of the destroyed community - has been vandalised with Nazi symbols,” the tweet said.
“Seeing them just 3km from the Memorial, in a town that suffered so much during the German occupation, is painful.”
The Auschwitz Memorial shared another photo of the wall after the anti-Semitic symbols were removed.
“This cemetery is well taken care of by the Auschwitz Jewish Center and the local community,” a seperate tweet explained.
“The wall was cleaned immediately, but together we need to keep fighting against all forms of hatred.”
Mayor expresses ‘outright indignation’ at fascist symbols
The vandalism was condemned by the Mayor of Oświęcim, Janusz Chwierut in a statement.
“In connection with the painting by unknown perpetrators of fascist symbols on the wall of the Jewish cemetery in Oświęcim, I express, together with the residents, my outright indignation towards such actions,” the statement said.
“Oświęcim is a place where such acts will always be condemned. The inhabitants of Oświęcim keep the memory of the victims of the Holocaust.
“Oświęcim is also a symbol of many centuries of coexistence between the Jewish and Christian communities, and the inhabitants of pre-war Oświęcim are buried in the Jewish cemetery.”
Nazi Germany occupied the town in 1938 and renamed the town Auschwitz, the Auschwitz Memorial also shared a document which detailed the town’s history.
Most of the 1.1 million people murdered by the Nazi German forces at the camp were Jews, but Polish, Russian and Roma people were also imprisoned and killed there.
Tomasz Kuncewicz, the director of the Jewish Museum in Oświęcim said that every desecration of a memorial site is terrifying, local publication Gazeta Wyborcza reported.
“But in Oświęcim, where millions of people were murdered in Auschwitz; a city with such an identity, it is unimaginable and painful,” Mr Kuncewicz said.
Hundreds on social media outraged by ‘appalling’ act
On social media, hundreds of people were disgusted such a heinous act could be committed - many describing it as “appalling” and “horrifying”.
“Getting real sick of seeing the new depths that humanity is plummeting itself to each and every time I wake up,” one person remarked on Twitter.
Survivors of the Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp prayed and wept as they marked the 75th anniversary of its liberation, in January last year.
Marian Turski, a 93-year-old Polish Jewish survivor had a message for his grandchildren’s generation:
“Auschwitz did not descend from the sky,” he said, crediting those words to Austrian President Alexander van der Bellen, among those present.
He called for people to not be indifferent.
“Because if you are indifferent, you will not even notice it when upon your own heads, and upon the heads of your descendants, another Auschwitz descends from the sky.”
Memorial calls on Etsy to remove ‘Camp Auschwitz’ t-shirt
Just recently, the Auschwitz Memorial called on online retailer Etsy to remove a t-shirt which said “Camp Auschwitz” sold by an independent seller, similar to a shirt which was seen worn by rioters at the US Capitol last week.
“Please remove this. It is painful to Survivors and disrespectful to the memory of all victims of Auschwitz,” Auschwitz Memorial tweeted tagging Etsy.
Etsy replied saying the item had been removed and the shop which sold it had been banned from the platform.
“Etsy stands firmly against any form of hate,” Etsy said, thanking the Museum for bring the listing to the company’s attention.
In the lead up to the US presidential election last year, six gravestones at a Jewish cemetery in Michigan were vandalised with a pro-Trump message, hours before Donald Trump’s final rally.
With Associated Press
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