Russian agencies tweet purportedly doctored Auschwitz propaganda images

The photographs show Russophobic stickers around the former concentration and death camp, but evidence suggests that the images are fake.

 Evidence from the Auschwitz Museum demonstrating that the photos are doctored (photo credit: AUSCHWITZ MUSEUM)
Evidence from the Auschwitz Museum demonstrating that the photos are doctored
(photo credit: AUSCHWITZ MUSEUM)

The site of Auschwitz, the infamous Nazi concentration and death camp, was used as a vehicle for Russian propaganda last week, according to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum. 

Official Russian agencies, including the Russian Arms Control Delegation in Vienna, tweeted photographs of stickers reading “Russia and Russians, the only gas you and your country deserve is Zyklon B,” posted in various locations around Auschwitz. Zyklon B was used to murder millions of Jews in Nazi gas chambers. 

Lending the photos an air of legitimacy, the Russian Foreign Affairs Ministry retweeted the photographs. 

In the original tweet from the Russian Arms Control Delegation in Vienna, the caption misspelled the name of Auschwitz as “Auschitz,” and claimed that those who say that there is no Russophobia or threat for Russia “lie to your eyes.”

Museum denies that the photos are legitimate

The Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum denied that the stickers were ever placed anywhere at the site. “No such incident was reported at the Memorial,” the museum wrote in a statement. “No such stickers have been found – also in locations visible in the published photographs.” In a tweet of their own, the museum also made sure to point out that the Russian agency misspelled the name of the camp.

Responding to the denial, the Russian Arms Control Delegation in Vienna apologized for the typo and expressed appreciation for the museum’s work but did not back down on their allegations. “Meanwhile, those who blatantly reject the presence of hatred vs an ethnic-cultural group (Russian/Russian-speaking) in many western elites/media, are also very wrong,” they tweeted. 

An analysis of the images provided evidence in support of the Auschwitz Museum’s assertion that the stickers were never placed at the camp. The Invid Project analysed the photos that were tweeted and found that they were manipulated to be used as propaganda, the museum explained on Twitter. 

Russia has likened Ukrainians to Nazis in the past

Russia has repeatedly tied the Holocaust into its conflict with Ukraine. Ukrainians have been likened to Nazis, Moscow has used denazification to justify its invasion of the country and Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov compared Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, to Hitler, on the basis that both had Jewish blood. 

Nevertheless, the reportedly doctored photos were particularly notable given that they made use of a site where over one-million Jews were murdered. 

“The use of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial for propaganda that lends credence to alleged Russophobia and strengthens theories about the need for denazification of Ukraine should be opposed by all thinking people worldwide,” the museum expressed in a statement. 

As for the images themselves, the museum contends that they “are simply a manipulation [and] the incident should be treated in terms of primitive and gross propaganda.”