A video from Poland's ruling nationalists Law and Justice (PiS) that uses images of the Auschwitz Nazi German death camp is an insult to those who lost their lives there, the museum that preserves the site said on Wednesday.
The short video, which PiS posted on social media, aims to discourage people from attending an opposition march that is due to take place in Warsaw on Sunday.
It refers to a tweet from prominent government critic and former Polish Newsweek editor Tomasz Lis, who said that 'a chamber' would be found for PiS leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski and PiS ally President Andrzej Duda.
Ktoś tu rzeczywiście kpi z komór gazowych w Auschwitz. https://t.co/chFf4QBeOv— Tomasz Lis (@lis_tomasz) May 31, 2023
Against a background which features the notorious 'Arbeit macht frei' (work sets you free) gate and an image of Lis's tweet, the video asks: "Do you really want to march under this slogan?"
Lis has since apologized for the tweet but said his words were misinterpreted and he meant to write 'a cell'.
Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum and Memorial condemned the advertisement
The Auschwitz-Birkenau Museum and Memorial, which preserves the Auschwitz death camp set up on Polish soil by Nazi Germany during World War Two, condemned the advertisement.
"The instrumentalization of the tragedy of people who suffered and died in the German Nazi Auschwitz camp - on either side of the political dispute - is an insult to the memory of the victims," the museum said on Twitter.
"It is a sad, painful and unacceptable manifestation of the moral and intellectual corruption of the public debate."
A government spokesman could not be immediately reached for comment.
More than 1.1 million people, most of them Jews, perished at the Auschwitz camp in gas chambers or from starvation, cold and disease.
Set up by Nazi Germany in occupied Poland in 1940, at first to house Polish political prisoners, it became the largest of the extermination centers where Adolf Hitler's plan to kill all Jews - the "Final Solution" - was put into practice.
The camp was liberated by the Soviet Red Army on Jan. 27, 1945.
Between 1941 and 1945, Nazi Germany and its collaborators systematically murdered some six million Jews across German-occupied Europe.