Airline Apologizes for Touting Auschwitz as 'Must-see' Tourist Destination

Hungarian budget airline Wizz Air urged visitors to see the town's 'majestic' and 'ancient' sites, barely mentioned concentration camp.


WARSAW – The Hungarian low-cost airline Wizz Air has apologized for any offense caused by an advertisement for Oswiecim that classified the Polish city, known as Auschwitz during World War II, as a must-see tourist destination, without mentioning the death camp where at least 960,000 Jews and 120,000-125,000 other victims were killed by the Nazis.

The advertisement was produced by the Oswiecim tourism office and appeared in the June/July edition of its in-flight magazine on flights between Tel Aviv and the Polish city of Katowice.

"Regrettably the advertisement was perceived as offensive by some readers because the city, known as Auschwitz during the German occupation, promotes its cultural heritage and regional landscape with no mention of the memorial at the Auschwitz death camp," the airline said in a statement released after an article in Haaretz earlier this week about the tourism list. "Wizz Air apologizes for any offense caused by this advertisement produced by the Oswiecim city tourism office."

The airline recognizes that many Israelis visit Holocaust memorials and "the sites of Jewish heritage and history" in Poland the statement said.

The ad said tourists "can enjoy walking through the narrow alleyways of the ancient city" of Oswiecim "or climb up to the top of the hill and visit a majestic fortress from the middle ages."

On a different page of the magazine, Auschwitz was mentioned in passing, however. "Many of you have perhaps already visited the nearby concentration camp, but did you know that the forest features an incredible fortress, which looks out over narrow, winding streets, as well as a series of exciting events throughout the year?" the magazine said.