A local branch of Burger King in Germany has been taken to court for repeatedly handing out advertising flyers at the Dachau concentration camp.

The Nazi concentration camp, which is now a memorial site owned by the Bavarian Memorials Foundation which has around 800,000 visitors a year, has accused the franchise of being "disrespectful" after staff members in uniform kept flyering vehicles in the car park advertising meals deals and discounts.

The memorial museum said they tolerated the practice for years, but decided to take action after the fast-food restaurant advertised on their car park in February on the day when the camp's gate with the infamous slogan "Arbeit macht frei" [Work will set you free] was returned more than two years after it was stolen.

Dr Gabriele Hammermann, head of the memorial site, told Bild: "It's about keeping the dignity of the place.

"We perceive advertising at the site, which is for many a place of mourning and also a cemetery, as inappropriate."

Dachau said they made repeated attempted to contact the branch manager, Ronny Otto, to ask him to cease flyering the car park to no avail. After getting the franchise involved in the situation, a spokesperson for Burger King Germany said: "We repeatedly asked [Otto] to reach an out-of-court agreement with the concentration camp memorial," reported The Local.

The Bavarian Memorials Foundation then attempted to take out an interim injunction against Burger King to stop them advertising on the "private" car park. Otto is now appealing against injunction and is opening his case in court, claiming the situation is just a "misunderstanding".

In 1996, rival fast-food chain McDonald's were also found flyering at Dachau, but stopped and apologised after being contacted by the memorial.

Hammermann told The Local he assumed that Burger King "would do the same and stop flyering, but they never did stop". A spokesperson for Burger King Germany added they "very much regret that it has come to today's Court of Justice session."

Dachau concentration camp
Workers hold the 'Arbeit macht frei' gate after it was returned to Dachau Ralph Brock/Reuters