Three Men Charged with Auschwitz Sign Theft

Published: November 27th 2010
in News » World

The Auschwitz sign

Justice at last? Polish authorities charged three men on Thursday over the theft of the historic and most iconic sign at the Auschwitz Nazi death camp. Anders Hogstrom, a Swede and Marcin A., a Polish whose last name remains undisclosed, were charged with incitement to commit the theft of the symbolic metal sign which hung over the entrance of the dreadful place where more than one million Jews were murdered during the Holocaust.


In addition, a second Polish man, Andrzej S., was also charged for aiding the crime. The Swede, Anders Hogstrom, a former neo-Nazi leader, has claimed in his defense that he was only acting on the orders of a known Nazi Second World War memorabilia collector and that he had no anti-Semitic intentions. Hogstrom was arrested in February in Stockholm and was extradited to Poland in April to face charges. If convicted, Hogstrom faces a long jail sentence of up to ten years. Five Poles have been accused of the theft to date. Three of them have already been convicted and are serving sentences of between 18 months and two and a half years.


The sign reading "Arbeit Macht Frei" ("Work Sets You Free") hung over the entrance gate to Auschwitz in the town of Oswiecim in southern Poland. It was stolen on December 18 of last year and was found three days later, abandoned in the Polish countryside after being cut into three pieces, probably for transportation reasons.

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