Berlin police chief Barbara Slovic apologized today (Monday) after photos of police officers performing fitness training on the stones of a Holocaust memorial in the German capital were revealed. The daily Berliner Zeitung published photos showing policemen in uniform and with their weapons as they perform blanket push-ups on one of the 2,711 stones of the monument in memory of the Jews murdered in the Holocaust. The instructions on the website prohibit running, noise, smoking and other acts that do not respect the place.
According to the newspaper, the photos are from videos that were apparently documented by the police themselves using the mobile phones, and the exercises were carried out when the police were sent to the area due to a demonstration that took place last June.
“The conduct of our colleagues does not respect what this monument represents and does not match the respect we must show towards it,” said Slovic police chief, who ordered an investigation. “For me, it hurts the memory of the murdered.”
The police organization also condemned the act. “The behavior of our colleagues cannot be justified by an explanation of bad taste,” the statement said. “The Holocaust Memorial is not a playground. This unexplained act mocks the genocide of millions of people and tramples on the values of the Berlin police. Apparently there is something to be accomplished within the police as well in the field of political education.”
“It does not sound like this,” said Leah Roche, chairwoman of the monument’s support group and one of the initiators of its construction, angrily. “The Holocaust and the crimes of Nazism should be at the center of the training of all public servants.”