Israeli FM condemns anti-semitic graffiti at Auschwitz museum

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid has denounced anti-semitic graffiti recently discovered at the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum.

Nine barracks had anti-Semitic phrases in both English and German as well as two references to Old Testament sayings frequently used by anti-Semites spray-painted on them, the Auschwitz Memorial said in a statement posted on Twitter on Tuesday.

"It is a shocking expression of anti-Semitism in a place that symbolizes the essence of human evil and cruelty," Lapid wrote on his Twitter page on Wednesday.

"In the name of the State of Israel, I condemn this criminal act and call on the local authorities to quickly find those guilty and bring them to justice under the full severity of the law," he added.

Earlier in the day, Dani Dayan, the chairman of Israel's Yad Vashem Holocaust Remembrance Institute, also reacted to the incident.

"We are very saddened by the attack on Auschwitz, the authentic location where over a million Jews were murdered, and strongly condemn the wilful vandalism of the barracks with anti-Semitic and Holocaust denial inscriptions," he said.

According to Dayan, the incident "constitutes an attack not only on the memory of the victims, but also on the survivors and any person with a conscience."

"It is also yet another painful reminder that more must be done to raise awareness about the Holocaust and to educate the public and the younger generation regarding the dangers of anti-Semitism and Holocaust denial and distortion," he said.

The Auschwitz Memorial site tweeted on Tuesday that "Such incident - an offense against the Memorial Site - is above all, an outrageous attack on the symbol of one of the greatest tragedies in human history and an extremely painful blow to the memory of all the victims of the German Nazi Auschwitz-Birkenau camp."

The museum said that the spray-painted texts would be removed immediately after investigators had collected all the evidence.