Areas of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum were vandalized on Tuesday with anti-Semitic language, the memorial announced.
As reported by The Wall Street Journal:
Spray-painted inscriptions in English and German included slogans denying the Holocaust and two Old Testament references often used by anti-Semites, the memorial said. It reported the vandalism of the nine barracks in the Birkenau camp site to local police, and said video surveillance and the inscriptions were both being analyzed.
In a statement on Twitter, the memorial said that the case has been reported to police and they “hope that the person or persons who committed this outrageous act will be found and punished. We also appeal to anyone who may have witnessed the incident to send any information that may help in finding the offenders…”
They also noted that “Such incident — an offense against the Memorial Site — is, above all, an outrageous attack on the symbol of one of the greatest tragedies in human history and an extremely painful blow to the memory of all the victims of the German Nazi Auschwitz-Birkenau camp.”
Statement concerning the vandalism that took place on October 5 at the Auschwitz II-Birkenau site. pic.twitter.com/bsNepIRCcL
— Auschwitz Memorial (@AuschwitzMuseum) October 5, 2021
Pawel Sawicki, a spokesperson for the Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum and Memorial, said, “Because the intent of the perpetrator or perpetrators was to spread hate speech, we have decided not to make the images or the content of the graffiti public,” per The New York Times.
The Journal pointed to a report on 2020 worldwide anti-Semitism by the Kantor Center at Tel Aviv University.
The report noted, “In most countries a decrease was observed in violent incidents, attacks on both people and property, threats and arson, but the level of vandalism against Jewish property and institutions remained unchanged.”
It also said, “Blaming the Jews and Israelis for developing and spreading the coronavirus (or ‘Judeovirus’), was the main motif in this year’s antisemitic manifestations. This notion is rooted in a deep fear of the Jew/Israeli as a spreader of disease in both the past and present. Iran contributed to the accusation’s dissemination.”
The center also noted that there have been new types of anti-Semitism on display during the coronavirus pandemic.
It found, “as zoom became a most common and effective channel of communication, extremist individuals and small groups seized the opportunity and began to break into zoom conferences of synagogues, Jewish community centers and university students, disrupting the meetings and posting their own hate messages instead.”
The Anti-Defamation League also found that American Jews have experienced more threats of harassment and violence in recent years, according to its 2021 Online Antisemitism Report Card.
The group noted that according to its “annual Audit of Antisemitic Incidents, 2019 and 2020 were, respectively, the highest and third-highest years on record for cases of harassment, vandalism, and assault against Jews in the United States since tracking began in 1979.”
According to history.com:
Auschwitz was the largest and deadliest of six dedicated extermination camps where hundreds of thousands of people were tortured and murdered during World War II and the Holocaust under the orders of Nazi dictator, Adolf Hitler.
The Holocaust Memorial Museum estimates that 1.3 million people were sent to the death camp in occupied Poland. Of this total, nearly 1.1 million were Jews, 960,000 of which died in the camp. The other approximately 200,000 people were predominantly made up of non-Jewish Poles, the mentally challenged, Roma people, homosexuals and Soviet prisoners of war.
“A total 1.1 million prisoners, or about 85 percent of people sent to Auschwitz, were murdered in the camp,” the site noted.
Auschwitz was different than other Nazi murder camps because “it included 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,” per the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum.
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