Arbeit Macht Frei

Who the hell would steal the “Arbeit macht frei” sign from Auschwitz?  Meaning ‘Work sets you free’ and constructed by prisoners from the camp, the entrance sign is symbolic of the Holocaust.  The camp, in which 1-1.5 milion people died,  has been a museum since 1945.  The sign is 5 meters long and weighs 40 kilograms.  I wonder how such a large sign was taken unnoticed, but apparently the one security camera used was blinded by the snow.  Borders were closed in case the sign is on its way out of the country, 50 criminal investigators are patrolling the camp grounds with dogs, and a temporary replica was installed in the sign’s place.

Who would do such a thing?  The museum has 1 million visitors every year, and the memorial stands as an important educational tool.  World leaders are outraged, and I have to agree that this act could only be antisemitic.  Will the sign go up for sale?  Will this symbol of the Holocaust be destroyed in an act of hatred? I have nothing new to say about this hurtful act of vandalism, but I feel truly sick over this piece of news, and I hope the criminals are caught and imprisoned.  This sign is more than just pieces of guilded iron- it is possibly the most recognized symbol of the millions of  people that died in the Holocaust.

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  1. I think the most shocking fact is not that this was stolen but the lack of security in such an important place of the world history, and in this case they “only” stole it but they could have destroyed something else.

      • Christine
      • December 21st, 2009

      Thank goodness the five thieves were caught and the sign was found, even if it was cut into pieces. They face up to 10 years in prison for their theft of a cultural object…and hope this teaches the museum that they need better security.

        • Christine
        • January 5th, 2010

        Update- Polish media links the theft to Swedish Neo-Nazis, although nothing has been confirmed. Poland made a formal request to Sweden to help in the investigation.

  1. May 26th, 2010

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