Stolen Auschwitz gate sign recovered, Polish police say

Visitors walk through the entrance gate of the former Auschwitz Nazi concentration camp in Oswiecim, Poland, where more than 1 million people died during World War II.

Associated Press (2005)

Visitors walk through the entrance gate of the former Auschwitz Nazi concentration camp in Oswiecim, Poland, where more than 1 million people died during World War II.

WARSAW — Police said early today that they have found the infamous "Arbeit macht frei" sign that was stolen Friday from the gate of the former Nazi death camp of Auschwitz.

Police spokeswoman Katarzyna Padlo told the Associated Press that the sign, whose words mean "work sets you free," was found in northern Poland. She said police also detained five men ages 25 to 39 who are being transported to Krakow, Poland, for questioning.

Another spokesman, Dariusz Nowak, said the sign was cut into three pieces, each containing one of the words.

He said the police were planning a news conference in Krakow today.

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

Krakow police are in charge of the investigation because they are the regional command for the area, including the Ausch­witz museum.

The sign that topped a main gate at the Auschwitz memorial site was stolen before dawn Friday. State authorities made finding it a priority and appealed to all Poles for assistance.

More than 1 million people, mostly Jews, but also gypsies, Poles and others, died in the gas chambers or from starvation and disease while performing forced labor at Auschwitz, which Nazi Germany built in occupied Poland during World War II.

The camp, which became the world's largest Jewish cemetery, was liberated by Soviet troops on Jan. 27, 1945.

The museum is preparing for solemn observations of the 65th anniversary of liberation.

Stolen Auschwitz gate sign recovered, Polish police say 12/20/09 [Last modified: Sunday, December 20, 2009 9:50pm]

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