An icon of the horrors of the Third Reich has been stolen. The Auschwitz concentration camp’s sign, which means “Work makes free” literally translated, may not be everybody’s idea of a collector’s item, but it’s been stolen. The sign was simply unscrewed and removed. All the thieves had to do was cut through some barbed wire. Security obviously wasn’t good. Apparently it hadn’t occurred to anyone that the camp might be souvenir heaven for the neo-Nazi merchandising industry that turns over quite a few million every year in Europe, the US, the UK and Russia.
The five-meter-long sign loomed above the gate at the main entrance to the former Nazi death camp like a sign from an earthly hell. Located in southern Poland, more than 1 million people died there during the second world war. The sign was unscrewed on one side and pulled off on the other, a Polish spokesperson said.
A spokesman for the Auschwitz museum, Pawel Sawicki, called the theft a "desecration" and said it was shocking that the tragic history of the site did not stop the thieves. In Brussels, the European parliament president, Jerry Burzek, appealed for the sign to be returned "out of respect for the suffering of over a million victims".
Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday expressed "shock" at the theft of the infamous "Arbeit macht frei" sign from the gates of the Nazi Auschwitz death camp in Poland. "I want to express the shock that this theft has provoked and I call on the Polish government to act and to find the criminals.
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