An Israeli teenager was arrested after he was caught urinating on a memorial commemorating victims of the Holocaust at Auschwitz this week, reports said Wednesday.
The 19-year-old was reportedly on a visit to the former Nazi concentration camp in Poland, when he was caught relieving himself. Witnesses told the authorities that the teen urinated on a monument near the ruins of the crematoria in the Birkenau part of the former Nazi concentration camp.
A guide spotted the teen in the grounds and reported to the guards and police, according to the Times of Israel.
The unidentified man was arrested by the authorities on Wednesday and held for several hours, he was later released after the police accepted a fine of $1,500.
The incident appeared to be the first of its kind — with a spokesman for the Auschwitz Museum and Polish officials claiming they had never seen an Israeli citizen relieve himself or be involved in such an incident at the Nazi death camp before.
The incident came just weeks after Poland introduced a law criminalizing the blaming of Poland as a nation for Holocaust crimes committed by Nazi Germany.
Throughout the years Polish officials have struggled to battle phrases like “Polish death camps” that are sometimes used abroad to refer to the camp in Auschwitz and other death camps that Nazi Germany had built and operated then on occupied Polish territory during World War II.
The punishment given to the teen for urinating at the memorial was viewed by some critics as a slap on the wrist, keeping in mind how people who desecrate monuments or other public places in Poland commemorating a historical event are not only subjected to a fine, but jail time, as well, the New York Post reported.
It has been estimated that approximately 1.1 million people, most of them European Jews, were murdered at Auschwitz before it had been liberated by Soviet forces in the year 1945.
Auschwitz was said to be the largest concentration camp built by Germany’s Nazi Party as a part of their effort to exterminate prisoners after the outbreak of World War II. The network of camps was a major and important wheel in the Holocaust and Adolf Hitler’s plan to murder Jews.
Auschwitz Memorial officials posted on Twitter saying that the teen was caught relieving himself at the site of the former Auschwitz II-Birkenau camp, which is located between ruins of gas chambers and crematoria II and III.
“Sad & regrettable incident,” the Memorial tweeted.
“This act is entirely stupid and inexcusable,” wrote Jonny Daniels, founder of the Holocaust memorial and preservation group, “From the Depths.”
“It’s pretty obvious that this kid is an idiot.”
In 2017, a group of anti-war activists, reportedly slaughtered a sheep, stripped naked and then chained themselves to the gate of the Auschwitz memorial. They have been sentenced in January to prison terms and fines.