Strong opposition “to the scandalous use by the PiS party in a political advertising spot of the symbol of Auschwitz and the memory of the victims of genocide” was expressed by the city council of Oświęcim in a position adopted on Wednesday.
“The city council of Oświęcim expresses its strong and firm opposition to the scandalous use by the party Law and Justice in a political advertising spot for the symbol of Auschwitz and in memory of the victims of the genocide committed in the former Nazi German concentration and extermination camp KL Auschwitz. This proves the lack of decency and the fall of the moral principles of the authors of the spot,” reads the position adopted on Wednesday by the spokeswoman for the Oświęcim magistrate, Katarzyna Kwiecień.
According to the council, “Auschwitz is a symbol of hatred and contempt for other people.” “This place requires silence, reflection and peace. It should be surrounded by reverence and respect. The tragedy of over a million human lives cannot be used to achieve any political goals that harm the memory of the victims and their families. We are outraged by such a cynical and instrumental use of the symbol of the greatest crime in history of humanity. The memory of the victims of Auschwitz should unite us, not divide us.”
The council demanded that PiS “immediately stop publishing the spot in the public space”.
13 out of 21 Oświęcim councilors were in favor of adopting the position. Four were absent and the same number did not vote.
PiS used shots from Auschwitz in the spot
The spot, to which the city councilors of Oświęcim referred, appeared on Wednesday morning on the official profiles of the Law and Justice party in social media. It concerns the march in Warsaw planned by the opposition circles on June 4.
The tweet reads: “#March4June getting closer. Are you sure you want to be there?” It comes with a 14-second spot. It shows the main gate of the former German Auschwitz II-Birkenau camp and the railway ramp where transports arrived in 1944, mainly with Jews destined for extermination, but also, among others, with Poles from insurgent Warsaw. Against this background, there is an inscription: “Over 1 million people were murdered in Auschwitz”, and then another: “6 million Poles were murdered during the war”. After them, you can see a scan of the tweet published by Tomasz Lis: “There will be a chamber for Duda and Duck.” You can hear the reader’s voice, which, referring to Lisa’s words, asks: “Are you sure you want to go under this slogan?”. At the end of the spot, the inscription “#Marsz4June” appears.
The Auschwitz Museum reacts
On Wednesday, the Auschwitz Museum commented on this matter on Twitter. “Instrumentalization of the tragedy of people who suffered and died in the German Nazi Auschwitz camp – on any side of the political dispute. It is a sad, painful and unacceptable manifestation of the moral and intellectual corruption of the public debate,” the institution pointed out.
Germany founded the Auschwitz camp in 1940 to imprison Poles there. Auschwitz II-Birkenau was established two years later. It became a place of extermination of Jews. There was a network of sub-camps in the camp complex. At Auschwitz, the Germans killed at least 1.1 million people, mostly Jews. Out of approx. 140-150 thousand. Almost half of the Poles deported to the camp died. Roma, Soviet prisoners of war and people of other nationalities also died in Auschwitz.
President Duda: an unworthy act and there is no excuse for it
“The memory of the victims of German crimes in Auschwitz is sacred and inviolable. The tragedy of millions of victims cannot be used in political struggle. It is an unworthy action and there is no justification for it,” the president wrote in response to the spot. Andrzej Duda.
Notification to the prosecutor’s office
Warsaw councilor and former politician of the Agreement, Jan Strzeżek, in connection with the spot, filed a notification to the prosecutor’s office. – We can see that for PiS this is an absolutely normal way of doing politics. No, it’s a disgrace. Such pathology must be destroyed – he said in front of the prosecutor’s office.
– It may also be that the prosecutor’s office decides that it is not a crime, that nothing actually happened. And this will be an even worse situation, because it will show that Law and Justice can do absolutely everything, that PiS is unpunished – he added.
Main photo source: Szymon Kaczmarczyk/Shutterstock/Twitter