Auschwitz
Auschwitz iStock

A Dutch tourist has been detained in Poland for giving the Nazi salute at the site of the former Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp, local police said Sunday, according to the BBC.

The 29-year-old woman made the gesture in front of the Arbeit Macht Frei (Work Sets You Free) gate, the report said.

The woman - who has not been named - was later charged with engaging in Nazi propaganda. Prosecutors issued a fine, which she agreed to pay.

The woman said the act had been a bad joke, Poland's PAP news agency reported. She had been posing for a photo taken by her husband at the time.

Promoting Nazi propaganda in Poland can carry up to two years in prison.

In 2013, two Turkish tourists gave Nazi salutes outside the site of the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp.

They took pictures of each other making the offensive gestures underneath the "Arbeit Macht Frei" sign. They were subsequently each sentenced to six months in jail, suspended for three years, and fined.

In 2018, three Polish teens who made a Nazi salute at Auschwitz-Birkenau were investigated by the local prosecutor’s office.

Auschwitz has also been targeted by vandalism, though such a phenomenon at the site is rare. In 2009, the "Arbeit Macht Frei" sign was stolen from the former death camp's historic gate. 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 October, nine barracks at Auschwitz were spray-painted with anti-Semitic phrases and slogans denying the Holocaust.

Join our official WhatsApp group