Auschwitz museum target of Russian propaganda on social media

Social media posts falsely claimed to show anti-Russian stickers placed around former Auschwitz death camp in Poland.

A view of the gate of the Auschwitz Nazi death camp in Poland in 2020
A view of the gate of the Auschwitz Nazi death camp in Poland in 2020 [File: Markus Schreiber/AP]

The Auschwitz-Birkenau museum has alleged that it was the target of “primitive” propaganda spread by Russian state agencies on social media.

The museum said on Friday that social media posts had falsely claimed to show anti-Russian stickers placed around the former site of the Auschwitz death camp in southern Poland, an area under German occupation during World War II.

The false images were tweeted by official Russian sites, including the Russian Arms Control Delegation in Vienna and retweeted by the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The highlighting of the false images appeared intended to portray Russians as targets of vicious Russophobia, the museum said in a statement.

Some posts claimed the stickers were the work of Ukrainians.

“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 said.


“Russia and Russians”, the stickers appearing in fake images say, “the only gas you and your country deserve is Zykon B”, – a reference to the gas the Germans used in the mass murder of Jews and others at the camps during the war.

Several online posts claimed the anti-Russian stickers went up on June 22, which is the anniversary of Nazi Germany’s invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941. The Soviet Union’s army liberated Auschwitz in 1945.

The Auschwitz Museum said no such stickers were found at the places depicted in the images shared on social media, and that security cameras did not capture anyone affixing anything to the locations on or before June 22.

The museum said an analysis showed the photos were manipulated and the stickers added digitally.

“Everything indicates that the photographs are simply a manipulation,” the museum said in a statement, describing the images as “primitive and gross propaganda”.

When Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, President Vladimir Putin said the goal was to “denazify” Ukraine, whose democratically elected president is Jewish and lost family members in the Holocaust.

More than 1.1 million people, most of them Jews, were murdered by the Nazis and their collaborators at Auschwitz.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies