Organizers of stunt at Auschwitz sent to jail

Polish court jails organizers of a stunt that saw a dozen people take off their clothes and slaughter a lamb at Auschwitz.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,


A Polish court on Wednesday jailed the organizers of a stunt that saw a dozen people take off their clothes at the former German Nazi death camp Auschwitz-Birkenau last year, before one of them slaughtered a lamb.

The court in the southern city of Oswiecim found Belarussians Adam B. and Mikita V. guilty of desecrating a memorial site and of animal cruelty and handed them prison sentences of a year and a half and 14 months respectively, according to the AFP news agency.

"Auschwitz is a memorial site, a symbol of martyrdom and a cemetery for thousands of human beings," said prosecutor Mariusz Slomka, adding, "We must send a clear signal... that these kinds of stunts should never be repeated."

Most of the 10 other defendants, aged 20 to 27, were sentenced to community service while one received a fine of 10,000 zloty ($3,000).

The group carried out the unprecedented stunt in March 2017 in front of the camp's infamous "Arbeit macht frei" ("Work makes you free") gate, where they draped a white banner with the word love written in red.

"These people desecrated one of the most tragic places in the world... by shamelessly trying to use it to propagate vague ideas that never really were explained and injuring the millions of people whose loved ones died there," museum director Piotr Cywinski said, according to the Polish news agency PAP.

"The court punished us for a work of art, it's unfair," Mikita V said for his part after the verdict was read.

The group claimed that they had acted for a good cause, to protest against war, adding that the slaughtered lamb was a "symbol of an innocent being who suffers for nothing".

Auschwitz has been targeted by thieves and vandals several times in recent years. In the most dramatic theft, the "Arbeit Macht Frei" sign was stolen from the former death camp's historic gate in 2009. It was found days later, cut into pieces.

The Poles who stole it and the Swedish man who instigated them were sentenced to prison, and the sign was later restored.

In 2016, two British teenagers were caught stealing from Auschwitz while on a school trip.

Last month, a Polish court gave a suspended one-year sentence to a 17-year-old American who was caught scratching his name into the barracks at Auschwitz.

One million European Jews were killed by the Nazis at the camp between 1940 and 1945. More than 100,000 non-Jews also died at the death camp.