Gate at Auschwitz-Birkenau

Auschwitz Protests: Naked Activists Slaughter Sheep at Iconic Gates

Auschwitz-Birkenau is the iconic site at which over 1 million people tragically and senselessly lost their lives during World War II. However, three days ago, it was home to a bizarre protest that involved naked protesters chaining themselves to a fence and potentially slaughtering a sheep on the museum grounds. Due to the strange turn of events, the site was closed for the rest of the day in order to deal with the chaos that ensued.

It is also unclear whether the group brought in a live sheep to slaughter for their protest or if the sheep was carried in already dead.

The event took place underneath the iconic “Arbeit Macht Frei” (“Work Makes You Free”) gate, which was meant as a way to torment the victims as the entered their prison.

The protesters covered the gate with a banner with the word “Love” written over the top of it. The group also filmed their demonstration with a drone for reasons that are currently unclear. Some photos of their performance via the drone were released to the media.

Sign at Auschwitz
Signage at Auschwitz-Birkenau’s main Auschwitz I Camp. [Image by Gregorio Borgia/AP Images]

In an odd ending to the entire chain of events, they also set off a firecracker in the parking lot of the museum, though why they would have done so remains a mystery.

So far, 11 people have been detained for their role in the civil unrest. They are all believed to be between the ages of 20 and 27 and are of several different nationalities. Six of them were Polish, four were Belarussian, and one was German.

The museum itself is a place of solemnity and respect, and it urges visitors at several signposts throughout to be mindful that they are walking on one of the world’s biggest graveyards. This, however, seemed to escape the protesters as they staged their demonstration in front of awe-struck staff and visitors who were simply trying to take in the scale of the genocide at the museum.

Staff members at Auschwitz stated that this kind of behavior is absolutely unacceptable and called the local police immediately after it occurred in order to get a handle on the situation.

“Using the symbol of Auschwitz for any kind of manifestations or happenings is outrageous and unacceptable. It is disrespectful to the memory of all the victims of the German Nazi Auschwitz concentration and extermination camp,” they said.

While there is no clear motive at the moment for the protests, it is thought that they were protesting the current political situation in Ukraine.

Entrance to Birkenau
Iconic image of the entrance to the extermination camp at Auschwitz II-Birkenau. [Image by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images]

Auschwitz-Birkenau is the site of enormous horror and tragedy and was one of the central points of the Nazi Holocaust. Not only did many Jewish people have their lives tragically and violently cut short on the grounds, but so did many political prisoners who were worked or starved to death.

Auschwitz-Birkenau was also the site of many cruel and depraved medical experiments by Dr. Josef Mengele, who wielded his power of his subjects to medically and cruelly examine mostly child twins.

While the Nazis sought to destroy a good portion of the evidence of their crimes before the Soviets arrived to liberate the camp in January of 1945, the complex was so vast that there was no way they could have removed all traces of it.

Today, thousands of visitors from all over the world pour in to learn about this horrific period in history and to pay their respects to those whose lives were senselessly lost during this period.

[Featured Image by Christopher Furlong/Getty Images]

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