Czech Tour Bus Causes Controversy With Auschwitz Images

Auschwitz entrance. Source: CC BY 2.5,
Auschwitz entrance. Source: CC BY 2.5,

A tour bus in the Czech Republic has drawn the ire of Jewish groups and Holocaust survivors. It is emblazoned with a satirical advertisement for tours of Auschwitz.

The double-decker bus has the infamous “Arbeit Macht Frei” sign, a Star of David, and images of Jewish victims of the Holocaust. The side of the bus states, “Come to Auschwitz – a journey through emotions. Our guides speak Czech.”

The bus was originally a prop in a satirical film by Czech director Vit Klusak. The film is a look at the emerging Holocaust industry in Eastern Europe. When the film wrapped production, the bus was sold to a local tour company that refused to remove the images.

Leo Pavlat, the director of the Prague Jewish Museum, has asked the tour operator to remove the images from the bus but the owner, Svatopluk Xaver, has refused. He said the cost of removing the images and repainting his bus was prohibitive.

Erika Bezdickova, a Holocaust survivor whose entire family died at Auschwitz, said that she was appalled at the bus. “I think that only a person with no moral decency could make a business out of the Auschwitz catastrophe,” she said.

Approximately 6 million Jews were killed during the Holocaust, two-thirds of the 9 million who lived in Europe before the war. Other victims of the genocide included Slavs, Roma People, Soviet POWs, Homosexuals, and anyone else deemed to be an enemy of the Nazi regime. The total number of people killed in the Holocaust is estimated to be around 11 million.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE