Jewish Journal


April 22, 2010

Auschwitz sign thieves skip out on jail


Three Polish men convicted of stealing the famous Auschwitz “Arbeit Macht Frei” sign failed to show up for their prison sentences.

The men had been given compassionate leave following sentencing and before entering prison. Two are brothers who were visiting their sick mother; the other man was allowed to complete his wedding plans.

All three have now disappeared, according to Polish Radio, and a second arrest warrant could be issued by the District Court in Krakow. The men were sentenced to between 18 months and 36 months in prison.

The two other thieves remain in custody, and Swede Anders Hoegstroem, the middleman who allegedly arranged the theft, was extradited to Krakow earlier this month.

The sign, which means “work makes you free,” was stolen on Dec. 18 and recovered across the country, cut into three pieces, 72 hours later. The sign reportedly was intended for a British Nazi sympathizer.

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