11 held for naked Auschwitz sheep slaughter

11 held for naked Auschwitz sheep slaughter

Not an obvious place for a naked protest.

The Polish police have detained 11 people, including a German, for staging a naked sheep slaughter at the Auschwitz concentration camp, meaning visits were temporarily suspended.

The Auschwitz museum said a group aged in their early 20s took off their clothes and slaughtered a sheep, then chained themselves together near the infamous “Arbeit Macht Frei” gate.

According to the authorities, the demonstrators could face charges of insulting a symbolic site and jail time. 

The person who killed the sheep would face additional charges under animal protection laws, AFP reported.

“Using the symbol of Auschwitz for any kind of manifestation or happening is outrageous and unacceptable,” the museum announced. “It is disrespectful to the memory of all the victims of the Nazi German Auschwitz concentration and extermination camp.”

The police said it was unclear if the sheep was slaughtered during the nude demonstration or if it was brought dead to the scene. The sheep’s throat had been slit and police did find a knife with the protesters.

“We’re shocked and outraged by this attempt to use this memorial site for a protest and which mars the memory of thousands of victims. It’s a reprehensible act,” museum representative Bartosz Bartyzel told AFP.

Museum director Piotr Cywinski told AFP he was mystified. “This is the first time something like this has happened at Auschwitz. I have no idea what their motives were.”

The Polish media said the group used a drone to film the incident and draped a white banner displaying “love” in red over the camp’s landmark entrance.

The police arrested seven men and four women, who included Poles, four were Belarusians and one German.

When museum guards became aware of the protest they told the young people to put their clothes back on.

“A large group of police officers are at the scene,” police spokeswoman Malgorzata Jurecka told AFP. The participants would probably “be charged with desecrating a monument or other historical site”, she added.

During the Second World War, the Nazis exterminated around a million Jews and an estimated 100,000 Poles, Roma, Soviet prisoners and resistance fighters at Auschwitz. Approximately 232,000 children died there.

Picture credit: Wikimedia

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