Protesters who killed sheep and stripped naked at Auschwitz found guilty of desecration

The main gate of the former Auschwitz extermination camp in Oswiecim, Poland. (Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

The main gate of the former Auschwitz extermination camp in Oswiecim, Poland. (Christopher Furlong/Getty Images)

(JTA) – A dozen protesters who slaughtered a sheep, stripped naked, and chained themselves to the gate of the Auschwitz memorial were found guilty of desecrating the site.

Belarusian performers Adam Bialacki and Mikita Waładźko were found guilty on Wednesday in a court in the Polish city of Oswiecim of the desecration and of the murder of the animal and were each sentenced to prison.

In March 2017, five Belarusians, six Poles and one German stripped naked in the former German extermination camp Auschwitz-Birkenau. The performers took the phrase “Arbeit macht frei,” or “Work makes you free” located on the camp’s iron gate and replaced the word “Arbeit” with a banner that read “Love”. They also fired several flares and verbally declared their love for different countries of the world. They filmed the stunt using a drone.

Bialacki killed a sheep by stabbing its heart 15 times.

The court in Oswiecim Bialacki to 18 months in prison. He must also pay a fine of $600. Waładźko was sentenced to 14 months in prison. Both men have a judicial ban on owning animals for 10 years.

Other members of the group received fines of $3,000 US.

The organizers called the incident an anti-war protest. Adam Bialacki is son of the Belarusian human rights defender Alaksander Bialacki, twice nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. Mikita Waładźko is an actor in the Belarusian Free Theatre.

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