Auschwitz thieves show how they stole sign

By Robyn Rosen, December 22, 2009

Three men who have confessed to stealing the Arbeit Macht Frei sign from the entrance gates of Auschwitz have re-enacted the theft for police.

Police found the 16-foot wrought-iron sign cut into three pieces on Sunday evening in northern Poland and arrested five men, aged in their 20s and 30s.

It had been stolen before 5 o’clock on Friday morning and had been unscrewed on one side and then wrenched off.

Police had stepped up security checks at airports and border crossings and searched scrap metal yards over the weekend during their hunt for the sign, which means “Work will set you free”

The Auschwitz-Birkenau memorial museum said that a replica sign will remain over the gate until it is possible to put back the original sign, after it has been restored , necessary conservation works are carried out and new security methods are put in place.

Meanwhile Polish media outlets have reported that someone in Sweden could be under suspicion. Artur Wrona, the chief prosecutor in Krakow, said that based on the evidence gathered, the crime was commissioned by a “person living outside Poland” but would not confirm the reports.

Last updated: 5:36pm, December 22 2009