18 December 2009

Neo-Nazis Suspected In Auschwitz Theft

Times (UK): Neo-Nazis suspected of raid on Auschwitz ‘to rewrite history’

The slickly organised theft of one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust sent a wave of outrage around the world yesterday.

The sign that hung over the gates of Auschwitz extermination camp, where more than a million people died during the Second World War, was stolen in minutes. Polish police suspect that the culprits were either neo-Nazis or acting on behalf of collectors or a group of individuals.

The slogan wrought in iron, Arbeit Macht Frei (“Work sets you free”), was the cynical welcome to those entering the camp in the 1940s. One million of the 1.1 million people who died at Auschwitz were Jewish.

The theft in the early hours of yesterday was seen as an attempt by right-wing extremists to muddy the narrative of the Holocaust.

Poland is treating the recovery of the sign from the site, near Cracow, as a matter of national honour.

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