Religious Jewish students visit Auschwitz, denied access to site

“Pathetic excuse:” Administrators and security prevent young Jewish women from touring much of site due to light rain.

By World Israel News Staff

A group of young Jewish women attending a gap year program at the Jerusalem-based Darkei Binah seminary were reportedly denied permission to tour the gas chambers while visiting the Auschwitz concentration camp last Friday. They were also harassed by a security guard at the site, video footage shows.

According to group participants who spoke to Yeshiva World News, it was the first time since students from the religious institution began visiting the site some 20 years ago that the gate leading to the gas chambers was locked.

The tour guide and students chose to walk around the locked gate and continue their tour, but were shouted at by a security guard.

“What we paid to do is to come in here to see what took place here, and instead, we’re being told what we’re allowed to do,” explains the frustrated tour leader in a cell phone video taken by one of the visitors.

Later, in the middle of a somber speech by the tour leader near the Photographs of Our Lost Ones memorial site on the trail, another security guard is seen approaching the group while filming them without their consent and shouting at them in Polish.

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The group is clearly rattled as the guard interrupts the speech and repeatedly films the group. After being asked to speak in English, he eventually says, “This is all closed. Please go.”

The confused tour guide then asks if the group has permission to continue walking on the trail, to which the guard responds, “no, no, no, no.”

Administrators later told the group nearly the entire site was closed because of slight rain.

“We were told that it was possible the gate was closed because it was drizzling rain,” one of the students told YWN. “If our ancestors could walk that very path through blistering heat and bone-chilling cold for their Nazi captors to brutally kill them, I think we could walk the path when it’s gray and cloudy.”

“To be brutally honest, I think this was a pathetic excuse to keep a group of Jewish girls away from the most shocking evidence of Nazi atrocities, and it was quite simply an act of antisemitism on the very spot where Jew-hatred reared its ugly head in the worst possible way during the Holocaust,” she said.