Auschwitz gate sign recovered

Polish police say they have found the infamous "Arbeit Macht Frei" sign that was stolen on Friday from the gate of the former Nazi death camp of Auschwitz gate.

Police spokeswoman Katarzyna Padlo said this morning that police also detained five men and were planning to question them.

Ms Padlo said the sign, which symbolises to the world the atrocities and cruelty of Nazi Germany, has been cut into three pieces.

Ms Padlo told The Associated Press that the sign was found last night in northern Poland, the other end of the country from the southern Polish town where the Auschwitz memorial museum is located and where it disappeared before dawn on Friday.

Ms Padlo said the five men they had arrested were between the ages of 25 and 39.

Police refused to divulge any details of the circumstances in which the sign was found or to speculate on the motive of the perpetrators.

The theft set off an international outcry at the disappearance of one of the most chilling and best known symbols of the Holocaust. State authorities made finding it a priority and appealed to all Poles for assistance.

Museum authorities welcomed the news with huge relief despite the damage done to the sign.

Spokesman Pawel Sawicki said conservation experts will have to determine how best to repair it and added that the museum authorities hope to restore it to its place as soon as possible.

More than one million people, mostly Jews, but also Gypsies, Poles and others, died in the gas chambers or from starvation and disease while performing forced labour at Auschwitz, which Nazi Germany built in occupied Poland during the Second World War.

The camp was liberated by the Soviet army on January 27, 1945.

Earlier on Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the sign was “of the deepest historical importance to the Jewish people and the whole world, and is a tombstone for more than a million Jews”.

More in this Section

Johnson pleaded ‘we need ventilators’, says Donald TrumpJohnson pleaded ‘we need ventilators’, says Donald Trump

NHS to send ‘check-in text’ to those with suspected Covid-19NHS to send ‘check-in text’ to those with suspected Covid-19

Boy, 14, charged with spitting at woman in UK during coronavirus crisisBoy, 14, charged with spitting at woman in UK during coronavirus crisis

Trump considers quarantine of New York, New Jersey and ConnecticutTrump considers quarantine of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut


Lifestyle

As the clocks go ahead, so does your style. Corina Gaffney picks your new wardrobe heroesFashion forward: Spring fashion as the clocks change

Des O'Sullivan gives an overview of the changed dates for much-anticipated salesAntiques & FIne Art: What events are put on hold for now?

Virtual auctions a welcome distraction, writes Des O’SullivanBuyers adapt with ease to bid online while grounded

I wish I could write us all back in time, when we could pop to the shops without fear, when grandparents did not have to wave through a window at their grandchildren.Michelle Darmody: Recipes with simple ingredients

More From The Irish Examiner