“Arbeit Macht Frei” Sign Recovered – Five Arrested
The “Arbeit Macht Frei” sign, which was stolen late last week from the front gate of the Auschwitz concentration camp has been recovered and five men in their 20s and 30s have been arrested.
Journalist Tomas Machala of CNN affiliate Polsat in the Polish capital Warsaw said Monday that the men were not neo-Nazis,in response to speculation at the time of the theft that the far right was responsible.
“They have some criminal background,” he said, noting they had been arrested for robbery and brawling in the past. He did not give their names, CNN reported.
The heavy iron sign “was removed by being unscrewed on one side and pulled off on the other,”police spokeswoman Agnieszka Szczygiel said.
Translated into German, the sign says “Work Sets You Free.”
According to CNN, Rabbi Marvin Hier, founder and dean of the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center, called the sign “the defining symbol of the Holocaust.
“Everyone knew that this was not a place where work makes you free, but it was the place where millions of men, women, and children were brought for one purpose only — to be murdered,” Hier said. “The audacity and boldness of this crime deserves the full attention of the Polish government.”