Three of the five suspects, Radosław M., Łukasz M. and Paweł S., will have to serve jail sentences ranging from 18 to 30 months, a Polish court in Krakow declared on Thursday.
The judgment could be given without going to trial as the persons concerned had already confessed to the crime. Apart from being sentenced to prison, the three convicted were fined 10,000 złoty.
The remaining two are furthermore being held in custody. For the trial to take place, however, both the suspects as well as the authorities will have to await the extradition of the Swedish buyer, allegedly supposed to have been behind the theft. The extradition, based on the agreement that will allow him to be tried by a Polish court, while permitting him to serve the sentence in Sweden, is expected to take place within the next few weeks.
Moreover, the Swedish buyer is suspected of being affiliated with the neo-Nazi movement in Sweden, thus adding a wider dimension to the crime. Yet, the exact circumstances and connections remain to be revealed and to be proven.
The theft of the “Arbeit Macht Frei” sign (German for “Work makes you free”) of the former concentration camp in Auschwitz last December caused a public outrage, as it is an important memorial, symbolizing the atrocities committed by the Nazi regime during WWII.