The Guardian

Poland's Holocaust law triggers tide of abuse against Auschwitz museum

Staff say they have suffered a campaign of disinformation and hate from Polish nationalists
The entrance to the former Auschwitz-Birkenau concentration camp in southern Poland. Photograph: Jacek Bednarczyk/EPA

Officials at the Auschwitz-Birkenau memorial and museum have described how they were subjected to a wave of “hate, fake news and manipulations” as a result of the controversy surrounding a contentious Holocaust speech law passed by Poland’s ruling Law and Justice party earlier this year.

The campaign of disinformation and abuse at the hands of Polish nationalists has raised concerns about pressure being exerted on official guides at the site in southern Poland, after the home of one foreign guide was attacked and supporters of a convicted antisemite filmed themselves repeatedly hectoring their guide during a visit to the camp in March.

Conceived in part as a means to prevent facilities established by Poland’s German occupiers from being and elsewhere amid concerns it could be used to restrict open discussion of Poland’s wartime history. The brother of the museum’s director published an emotional message on Facebook in March decrying the “50 days of incessant hatred” directed at his brother, Piotr Cywiński. “For 12 long years he’s worked in one of the most terrible places in the world, in an office with a view of gallows and a crematorium,” he wrote. “Dozens of articles on dodgy websites, hundreds of Twitter accounts, thousands of similar tweets, profanities, memes, threats, slanders, denunciations. It’s enough to make you sick.”

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