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Naked youths slaughter a sheep at Auschwitz

March 24, 2017

A group of around 10 people took off their clothes, killed a sheep and chained themselves together next to the infamous "Arbeit Macht Frei" gate at Auschwitz. Their motives were not immediately clear.

Image: picture-alliance/dpa/F. Leonhardt

The police detained 11 people on Friday, including one German, after they staged a bizarre ceremony at the Auschwitz death camp. Visits to the site were temporarily suspended.

According to officials from the Auschwitz museum, several men and women between the ages of 20 and 27 took off their clothes and slaughtered a sheep at the site of the Nazi German death camp located in present-day Poland. They then proceeded to chain themselves together near the gate that bears the infamous slogan "Arbeit Macht Frei."

"We're shocked and outraged by this attempt to use this memorial site for a protest and which mars the memory of thousands of victims. It's a reprehensible act," museum spokesman Bartosz Bartyzel told the AFP news agency. 

"This is the first time something like this has happened at Auschwitz," museum director Piotr Cywinski told the AFP news agency.

"I have no idea what their motives were."

Local media reported that the youths used a drone to film the incident and draped a white banner with the red text "love" over the camp gate.

Foreigners also questioned

The police promptly removed the perpetrators and transferred them the local police station for questioning. Poles, Belarusians and one German were said to be among the perpetrators.

"A large group of police officers are at the scene," local police spokeswoman Malgorzata Jurecka told the agency. The participants will "likely be charged with desecrating a monument or other historical site," she added.

During World War II, Germany's Nazi regime used Auschwitz to exterminate around a million Jews and some 100,000 Poles, Roma, Soviet prisoners and anti-Nazi resistance fighters. Researchers believe that around 232,000 children died on site. The camp has grown to symbolize the tragedy of the Holocaust and all other Nazi atrocities of the time period.

dj/sms (AP, AFP)