WARSAW, Poland – Polish police have recovered the infamous Nazi sign stolen from the former Auschwitz death camp cut into three pieces, and said Monday it appeared to have been taken by common criminals seeking profit.
Five men were arrested late Sunday after the damaged "Arbeit Macht Frei" ("Work Sets You Free") sign was found near one of their homes in a snowy forest outside Czernikowo, a village near the northern Polish city of Torun, on the other side of the country from the memorial site.
...Security guards patrol the 940-acre (200-hectare) site around the clock, but due to its vast size they only pass by any one area at intervals.
After occupying Poland in 1939, the Nazis established the Auschwitz I camp, which initially housed German political prisoners and non-Jewish Polish prisoners. The sign was made in 1940. Two years later, hundreds of thousands of Jews began arriving by cattle trains to the wooden barracks of nearby Birkenau, also called Auschwitz II.
...The grim slogan "Arbeit Macht Frei" was so counter to the actual function of the camp that it has been etched into history. The phrase appeared at the entrances of other Nazi camps, including Dachau and Sachsenhausen, but the long curving sign at Auschwitz was the best known.
Monday, December 21, 2009
I was worried about this: