Auschwitz: Dutch tourist fined over Nazi salute at former death camp

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 say.

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

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 reports.

She had been posing for a photo taken by her husband at the time.

It is not the first time foreigners have been detained for promoting Nazi propaganda in Poland – a charge that can carry up to two years in prison.

In 2013, two Turkish students were each sentenced to six months in jail, suspended for three years, and fined for a similar Nazi salute at Auschwitz.

Nazi Germany built the death camp in the southern Polish town of Oswiecim after occupying Poland at the start of World War Two in 1939.

In just over four-and-a-half years, Nazi Germany systematically murdered at least 1.1 million people at Auschwitz. Almost one million were Jews.

Those deported to the camp complex were gassed, starved, worked to death and even killed in medical experiments. The vast majority were murdered in the complex of gas chambers at the Auschwitz II-Birkenau camp.

Six million Jewish people died in the Holocaust – the Nazi campaign to eradicate Europe’s Jewish population. Auschwitz was at the centre of that genocide.

Soviet troops liberated the camp in early 1945.