Cork Gardaí have confirmed they are investigating a “potential incitement of hatred” after an offensive Nazi sign was stuck above the door of a Cork social welfare office and are appealing for information.
“Jobpath Macht Frei” was pasted onto the glass above the door of the social welfare centre on Hanover Street, a take on the phrase ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’ - Work sets you free, that appeared at the entrance of many concentration camps during the Nazi era.
Jobpath is an Intreo scheme for long term unemployed that attempts to assist them in securing and sustaining full or part-time employment.
The sign, which was noticed on Wednesday, Oct 16, by two Polish individuals, sparked International outrage with the official Twitter account of Auschwitz, a former German Nazi concentration and extermination camp, demanding for the makeshift sign to be removed.
Tweeting from their official Twitter account, the Auschwitz Memorial @Auschwitzmuseum which preserves the Auschwitz site wrote: “ @welfare_ie "Arbeit Macht Frei" was a false, cynical illusion the SS (Schutzstaffel) gave to prisoners of the #Auschwitz camp.
“Those words became one of the icons of human hatred.
“It's painful to see this symbol 'interpreted' over '#Cork Employment Services Office'. Please remove it.” According to the Irish Polish Society, the sign was reported to the Intreo centre manager on Wednesday and it was removed 20 minutes later.
Gardaí are now appealing for information in relation to the incident.
“Anyone with information is asked to contact Anglesea Street Garda Station on 021-452 200, The Garda Confidential Line on 1800-666-111, any Garda Station or the Garda National Diversity & Integration Unit 01 6663150 or firstname.lastname@example.org.” The Gardaí said that no arrests have yet been made and the investigation is ongoing.
The Department of Employment Affairs and Social Protection confirmed to The Echo that the incident occurred saying “an extremely offensive sign” had been placed on the outside of its office in Hanover Street, Cork by “unknown persons” Wednesday afternoon and was removed immediately.
“The Department very much regrets that this happened at one of its offices and it has reported the matter to the Gardaí.”