Page last updated at 14:37 GMT, Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Auschwitz sign theft 're-enacted' by three suspects


Stolen Auschwitz sign unveiled

Polish police have taken three men who admitted stealing the "Arbeit macht frei" sign from Auschwitz back to the site to re-enact its theft.

Police found the metal sign cut into three pieces on Sunday and arrested five men in northern Poland.

Three of the five have confessed to the theft from the site in southern Poland.

The 5m (16ft) wrought iron sign - the words on which translate as "Work sets you free" - symbolises for many the atrocities of Nazi Germany.

The suspects, aged in their 20s and 30s, were not part of a neo-Nazi group, police said earlier.

Andrzej Rokita, the local police chief in Krakow, said the theft was financially motivated, and it remains unclear whether it was carried out to order.

Parts of the Auschwitz sign are exhibited by police during a press conference in Krakow, Poland, 22 December 2009
The 5m (16ft) wrought iron sign was cut into three pieces

The 40kg (90lb) sign was half-unscrewed, half-torn off from above the death camp's gate in the early hours of Friday morning.

If charged with theft and damage, the suspects face up to 10 years in prison.

The theft caused outrage in Israel and Poland.

More than a million people - 90% of them Jews - were murdered by the Nazis at Auschwitz during World War II.

The museum which stands on the modern-day site is preparing to celebrate the 65th anniversary of Auschwitz-Birkenau's liberation by Soviet troops on 27 January.

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Reuters Africa Poland probes foreign link in Auschwitz theft - 26 hrs ago
IOL Sign suspects not neo-Nazis, say police - 50 hrs ago
Sky News Stolen Auschwitz Sign Recovered But Damaged - 53 hrs ago
Times Live South Africa Stolen Nazi death camp sign recovered - 53 hrs ago
National Post Auschwitz death camp sign found in pieces - 53 hrs ago

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