Three Jailed for Auschwitz Sign Theft

A Swede and two Poles have received jail sentences for their involvement in the theft of the “Arbeit Macht Frei” Auschwitz sign.

A Krakow court sentenced Swede Anders Hoegstroem to two years and eight months for instigating the theft—a term he will serve in Sweden following an earlier plea bargain.

Prosecutors stated that the motive for the theft was financial. Hoegstroem claimed that another Swede induced him to organise the raid, though Polish authorities have found no evidence to support this.

The Polish pair, identified as Marcin A. and Andrzej S., were sentenced to up to two-and-a-half years in jail for their involvement in the theft. Andrzej S. is reported to have apologised to the court for the crime. Three other Poles were jailed in March 2010 for their part in the crime.

The December 2009 theft appalled Polish public opinion and sparked a massive manhunt across Europe. The “Arbeit Macht Frei” sign was recovered after just three days, crudely sliced into three pieces.

Conservators at the Auschwitz Museum announced Wednesday that they are preparing to re-erect the original sign after months of painstaking restoration work.

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