Turkish students 'only joking' over Nazi salute at concentration camp

Majdanek concentration camp in Poland, where the incident occurred (Photo: Jolanta Dyr)

Majdanek concentration camp in Poland, where the incident occurred (Photo: Jolanta Dyr)

Two students from Turkey who greeted a group of Israeli students at the Majdanek concentration camp with a Nazi salute say they were “making a joke”.

Named in reports as Mehmet A., aged 21, and Mesut T., 24, the pair were arrested in Poland last week after greeting the Israeli group with Nazi gestures and shouting “Heil Hitler”.

After the Israeli students made an official complaint, the Turkish men were kept in custody for two days.

They now face charges of promoting fascist propaganda and insulting Jews – offences which carry a three-year prison sentence in Poland.

Speaking to the Vatan Daily newspaper in Lublin, where both men study as part of the Erasmus student programme, Mehmet A. said: “All we wanted was to take a couple of pictures [making the salute] as memories of the camp. We did not know it was a crime in Poland.”

Last updated: 6:15pm, October 15 2013