The Nazi slogan "Arbeit macht frei" (Work sets you free) is pictured at the gates of the former Nazi German concentration and extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau in Oswiecim, Poland January 27, 2017..
(photo credit: AGENCY GAZETA/KUBA OCIEPA/VIA REUTERS)
An Israeli high school student is suspected to have scratched graffiti into a wall in the Auschwitz concentration camp earlier this summer, based on a picture that surfaced on Monday in Hebrew media.
The incident is suspected to have occurred during a school trip to Poland by ORT Rogozin High School in Israel's northern town of Migdal HaEmek, where the picture shows a date during the delegation, August 27, 2017, the name of the school and the Star of David carved into the wall.
Yuval Levi, a student on of the trip, told Walla! that she and her classmates are "appalled and embarrassed." She added that although it is unclear who committed the heinous act, all the students are taking responsibility. She also said that she is sure that the perpetrator did it with good intentions and not to desecrate the site, "but out of pride and the need to leave a stamp."
Israel's National Student and Youth Council condemned the "shameful behavior," yet stated that "It is important to emphasize that such behavior does not reflect the youth's journey to Poland and their typical behavior."
Sharon Usov, a student on the delegation, posted on Facebook that she and her classmates are "very sorry about the horrible incident and are not justifying it in any way." However, she added that she and her classmates are familiar with everyone in the delegation, and whoever scratched the graffiti didn't have bad intentions.
Education Committee member MK Itzik Shmuli condemned the incident saying that these ares this is the type of behavior that we are accustomed to see by antisemites and Nazis, but not by Israeli youth. The Zionist Union party member added that "to think that Israeli teenagers desecrated the dignity of Holocaust victims in such a nasty and ugly way is just horrible."
Shmuly also called on the Education Ministry to rethink its policies regarding high school delegations to Poland and requested an immediate Education Committee to discuss the matter further.
ORT Rogozin High School told Channel 2 that they are thoroughly investigating the occurrence and will act accordingly once the special investigation has finished.