Antisemitic graffiti has been discovered on barracks on the site of the Auschwitz-Birkenau II Nazi death camp, the Memorial and Museum running the site said on Tuesday, condemning the act as "outrageous."
The Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum and Memorial preserves the Auschwitz death camp set up on Polish soil by Nazi Germany during World War Two. More than 1.1 million people, most of them Jews, perished in gas chambers at the camp or from starvation, cold and disease.
The graffiti included statements in English and German, as well as two references to often-used Old Testament sayings frequently used by antisemites, the Memorial said in a statement published on Twitter.
"An offense against the Memorial Site - is above all, an outrageous attack on the symbol of one of the greatest tragedies in human history and an extremely painful blow to the memory of all the victims of the German Nazi Auschwitz-Birkenau camp," the memorial site tweeted.
Police are analyzing and compiling documentation as well as reviewing video footage of the incident, after which the memorial said it would remove the markings.
It added that the security measures at the site were being expanded but that fully enclosing the memorial site would not be possible for some time.
"We are deeply saddened and strongly condemn the attack on Auschwitz, a site where over one million Jews were murdered," said Yad Vashem chairman Danny Dayan in response to the incident. "The vandalism of the barracks precisely in this place, through antisemitic inscriptions and symbols of Holocaust denial, constitutes an injury to the memory of the victims, the survivors and any person with a conscience.
"The event is another painful reminder that more must be done to promote the memory of the Holocaust and to educate the public and the younger generation regarding the dangers of antisemitism and Holocaust denial," added Dayan.
International March of the Living condemned the act of vandalism: "This blatant act of hatred in the world’s largest site of mass murder - where over 1 million Jews were murdered - is a grim reminder of the urgent need for Holocaust education and for the continuance of educational trips for young people of all religions and backgrounds to Auschwitz-Birkenau.
"In the spring of 2022, on Holocaust Remembrance Day, if COVID 19 guidelines permit, International March of the Living hopes to bring thousands of young people from around the world to the grounds of Auschwitz-Birkenau, where they will march against racism and intolerance and for peace and mutual understanding. Our mission has never been more urgent," the organization added.