A Nazi slogan was scrawled on a blackboard at a university building site.

The words “Arbeit macht frei”, which are written over the entrance to the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland, were chalked on a board at the site at the University of Sussex at Falmer.

The German words means “work sets you free”.

A passer-by who spotted the slogan, used at the Second World War concentration camp in Poland, said he was concerned for workers at the site.


He said: “I know there are a few Polish workers on site who aren’t very happy at having to walk past it everyday.”

It is not clear who wrote the message but members of the Jewish community were outraged.

Adam Rose, president of the Jewish Society at the University of Sussex, said: “The Jewish community in Brighton is saddened to see this vile display of anti-Semitism on campus.

“These incidents thankfully come rarely but always create wide shock and disbelief amongst our community.”

Historians estimate that more than one million people were murdered at the Auschwitz death camp between 1939 and 1945, the majority of who were Jews.

On arrival at Auschwitz prisoners would be marched through the gate and those deemed unfit to work as slave labour were sent to the gas chambers, which were disguised as bathhouses.

Inside, the prisoners were gassed with Zyklon-B.

Their corpses were then incinerated in ovens. The people marked unfit for work were never officially registered as inmates, so it is impossible to calculate the total number of people who died at the camp in Poland.

Prisoners who avoided the gas chambers often died from overwork, disease and malnutrition.

The Nazi camp guards often arbitrarily executed people,

while torture and inhumane medical experimentation were also common.


A joint statement by the University of Sussex and construction company Balfour Beatty said: “Balfour Beatty and the University of Sussex take incidents of offensive behaviour incredibly seriously.

“As soon as we were informed about this blackboard, it was removed immediately.

“Inappropriate language or behaviour will not be tolerated on any of our sites.

“The site operates under a clear code of conduct which all employees and those who work with and for us are expected to follow.

“Balfour Beatty continue to investigate this matter and are in the process of briefing all staff on site.”