Poland Tourism Chief Gets Fired Over Axing Auschwitz From Press Tours

Czarek Sokolowski  / Associated Press

Poland’s tourism minister says he has fired the head of the national tourist organization after he said he wanted to remove the Auschwitz memorial and a Jewish history museum from tours for foreign journalists. Pictured is the main gate of the former German Nazi death camp of Auschwitz, Poland. Czarek Sokolowski / Associated Press

Skift Take: Auschwitz is one of the top points of interest for visitors in Poland. But, avoiding a tragic and horrific time in a country’s history is not how you move forward with new tourism branding and messaging, which Poland has sought to do in recent years.

— Dan Peltier

Poland’s tourism minister said Wednesday he was firing the head of the national tourism organization after he said he wanted to remove the Auschwitz memorial and a Jewish history museum from tours for foreign journalists.

Witold Banka said on Twitter he was dismissing Marek Olszewski immediately over “scandalous remarks” the head of the Polish Organization of Tourism made in Wednesday’s Gazeta Wyborcza daily.

The newspaper quoted Olszewski as saying he wanted to “promote the values of Poland‘s culture” and had “no need to show places and events relating to the history of other nations.”

According to the paper, he had removed the site of the former Nazi death camp of Auschwitz and Polin Museum of the History of Poland’s Jews, in Warsaw, from tours for foreign journalists.

“Auschwitz is not a tourism product but a place of martyrdom and deep thought, while we do promotion of Poland as a tourist attraction,” Olszewski said.

During World War II some 1.1 million people, mainly Jews but also Poles, Roma, Russians and other nationals were killed at Auschwitz.

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Ryan Wolkov

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Author: Ryan Wolkov

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