Yesterday evening.

Just before 5.30pm…

Auschwitz Memorial tweeted:

“Arbeit macht frei” was a false, cynical illusion the SS gave to prisoners of the Auschwitz camp. Those words became one of the icons of human hatred hate. It’s painful to see this symbol ‘interpreted’ over ‘ Cork Employment Services Office’. Please remove it.

Just before 8pm…

The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection tweeted:

Dept Employment Affairs & Social Protection confirms that an extremely
offensive sign was placed on outside of Hanover Street office, in Cork by unknown persons yesterday. It was removed immediately. We very much regret that this happened. We have reported it to gardaí.


Pics: Auschwitz Memorial


This morning, PJ Coogan, of Cork’s 96FM, spoke to the two Polish men, called Chris and Piotr, who alerted the Intreo office about the sticker.

In the interview, Chris explained that he was waiting outside the office on Tuesday when he noticed the sign.

He took a picture but was too busy trying to sort out his affairs within the office that he didn’t alert anyone at the office at that point.

He said it wasn’t until he left, and had more time to think about it, that he realised how “bad” the sign was.

He and Piotr returned to the office on Wednesday and Chris spoke to the centre’s security officer and manager.

Chris said they took the mater very seriously, acted professionally and apologised.

He said within 20 minutes the sticker was taken down.

Listen back in full here

Thanks Fergal Barry


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30 thoughts on “Auschtwits

  1. Captain Pants

    Wasn’t the point of the sign to indicate that JobPath is oppressive and not to laugh at the suffering of the holocaust?

    1. Rob_G

      Comparing having to go to a few meetings with a functionary, to the gassing of millions of people, is making a complete mockery of the Holocaust. Particularly as the office is likely to visited by at least some people who are Jewish, gay, Roma, etc.

      Anyone who thinks that attending JobPath is ‘oppressive’ should probably log off the internet and go and read a history book.

        1. Rob_G

          I just don’t find jokes about the murder of millions of people especially funny – I guess I’m just a stick-in-the-mud…

          1. Ghost of Yep

            Eugh. So enlightened and superior Rob. All you have to do is recognize it is a joke, find it not funny and move on.

          2. EK

            Rob, It wasn’t about the murder of millions of people, it was a reference to the manner in which JobPath was implemented. It wasn’t a very good way of doing it, since it seems to be suggesting that one was on par with the other, which is ridiculous. But the intention clearly wasn’t to mock the holocaust, it was to mock the JobPath. To make out that it was otherwise is just affecting stupidity for a cheap political angle, which is probably also an abuse of the holocaust.

      1. V

        well they do now
        and fair play to Piotr and Chris

        and in fairness, to the staff in the Hanover Street SW office too

  2. Shitferbrains

    There seems to be an assembly line of uneducated educated gobdaws in Ireland these days. Contamination from the British hard left I suspect.

  3. Ian-O

    Stupid? Yes.

    Is it anymore stupid than George Hook calling himself a Blueshirt on Newstalk as he used to? Bearing in mind the Blueshirts were a fascist organisation that were contemporary with Hitler and Mussolini?

    Did I get overly upset when Hook referred to himself as such? Not really.

    Do I get overly upset about this? Not really – however, I would imagine its a lot more personal for Polish people to see such a sign.

    1. Joe Small

      The Blueshirts never killed anyone. Comparisons with Mussolini’s Blackshirts and Hitler’s Brownshirts, while amusing, aren’t remotely historically accurate. I always understood that the Army Comrades Association was originally formed to protect Cummann na Gael meetings after repeated attacks from Fianna Fail supporters post-1932. From there, some ideologues in the ACA leadership lost the run of themselves and thought they were creating a right-wing mass movement but then, as now, the Irish weren’t interested in any sort of a totalitarian government.

      1. Zaccone

        “The Blueshirts never killed anyone”?

        The Irish Brigade fought on the Nationalist side of Francisco Franco during the Spanish Civil War. The unit was formed wholly of Roman Catholics by the politician Eoin O’Duffy, who had previously organised the Blueshirts and openly fascist Greenshirts in Ireland. Despite the declaration by the Irish government that participation in the war was unwelcome and ill-advised, 700 of O’Duffy’s followers went to Spain.

        Their members killed plenty of people, literally volunteering to defend fascism.

        1. Rob_G

          According to Brendan Behan (who, as any of his readers would know, would not have any interest in making light of any atrocities carried out by Blueshirts), the most action that the Blueshirts saw in Spain was being accidentally machine-gunned by their own side. One volunteer, unaccustomed to a diet of red wine and chorizo, threw up on parade in front of Franco, who lost any interest he had in any more volunteers coming from Ireland after that. After O’Duffy’s adjutant ran off with the wages and some of the passports, most of the Blueshirts opted to return home.

          Now, not to say that they didn’t hold fascistic views, but the Blueshirts were too comical to be compared in any way to the Brownshirts or Blackshirts.

          1. Ian-O

            Well I never said they killed anyone, I just said that I think the sign and Hook’s comments were stupid, but not that much to get me upset about them.

            Just because the Blueshirts were inept fantasists doesn’t make them any less scum though.

            They were and calling yourself one is, at best, calling yourself an idiot.

        2. Joe Small

          I should’ve been more specific that the Blueshirts never killed anyone in political violence in Ireland. However., your Wikipedia link suggests that they many only have killed in “friendly fire” incidents in Spain, which makes them even more ridiculous.
          If you want a more nuanced history of the time, this isn’t bad –,4158,en.pdf
          The Republican mobs didn’t wear coloured shirts but were just as dangerous if not more so than the Blueshirts of the time.

  4. bisted

    …the ‘arbeit macht frie’ sign is one of the most potent reminders of the Holocaust and the evils of racism and naziism that seem to be on the rise again…that anyone would use this symbol for a joke or a prank is sick…

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