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This summer I was in Krakow. We stayed in a hostel and did an organized tour from there. We visited Auschwitz concentration camp. We were a group of approximately 10 people and unfortunately some of them were really disturbing. For example they posed under the infamous Arbeit macht frei sign and did some rude poses that I don't want to mention here. How do you cope with such situations? I did feel very embarrassed since I was part of the same group. I complained by the tour guide and also the hostel, but they said they can't do anything.

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FYI, there is an ice cream shop just as you enter the camp. For the life of me, I cannot see how anyone can slurp an ice cream cone in the presence of that camp. And yet, the day I visited, that's just what a whole bunch of people were doing. Still turns my stomach to this day... –  Affable Geek Jan 5 '12 at 13:56

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The tour group can't and won't do anything unless what they're doing is illegal, or the guide is really passionate about something.

The one thing you can try sounds painfully obvious, but hey, if it works...

Try saying something to them.

It sounds like a whinge, but some people just don't consider what they're doing or realise they may be being offensive. A quiet "Hey, this is a historic place with a tragic past, do you think perhaps you could not do [x] - it's quite offensive / rude".

Sure, some will just look at you and roll their eyes, but you're then no worse off than before.

In July when in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, a group of us spotted another with one guy in their group not wearing a shirt. Sure it was over 40 degrees C in the shade, but it's in a country and culture where you don't go shirtless, especially around the temples we were exploring! We walked over and quietly mentioned it, he had a sort of embarrassed laugh about it, but the shirt quickly went back on. We saw them later again and had a good chat, no problems, they were good people and just hadn't considered their actions.

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I guess similar to how you cope with inappropriate behaviour if you are not traveling. I completely understand your discomfort, for me that is a reason to travel in groups as little as possible.

Remember that you are as responsible for someone else behaviour when traveling, then when you are at home. As Jonik pointed out, ignoring them and immediately seek more pleasure company might be the only solution.

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If they break the law or other rules, you could turn them to the authorities. If they're just being jerks, what can you do? You could ask them politely to stop, but that's probably it. In general, you'd just have to find better company, go elsewhere, or simply (try to) ignore them.

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(Also, I understand OP's frustration, but I'm not sure if this is a useful, answerable travel question per se.) –  Jonik Oct 23 '11 at 22:23
    
I wondered, but we were happy to ask how to deal with corrupt police while travelling, so this is merely a different demographic of annoyance ;) –  Mark Mayo Oct 23 '11 at 22:25
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I'm not sure how the law is in Poland, but I think what they did is forbidden in most countries. But nevertheless turning them to the authorities is a little bit difficult if you're alone in a country that you don't know very well. –  RoflcoptrException Oct 24 '11 at 9:01

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