Posts Tagged ‘Dachau’

German police ‘have leads’ on Dachau sign theft

November 4th, 2014

It remains unclear why the Nazis erected signs reading “Work sets you free” at the entrances to concentration camps where millions were sent to die, but they have become such a potent symbol of the suffering of Holocaust victims that Poland declared a national emergency when the Auschwitz sign was removed.

It was found three days later, cut into pieces, and later restored. Hoegstroem and the five Polish thieves were convicted and imprisoned.

The theft of the sign at Dachau has caused widespread revulsion. “This desecration is horrible and shocking,” the president of Germany’s Central Council of Jews, Dieter Graumann, told Bild newspaper. “Whoever did something like this is either sick or evil. Probably both.”

The head of the Dachau memorial centre, Gabriele Hermann, called the theft a “deliberate, reprehensible attempt to deny and obliterate the memory of the crimes committed in this place”.

More than 200,000 prisoners were held at Dachau. It was originally intended to hold political prisoners,and later used for to hold slave labourers and Jews. There were 32,000 documented deaths at Dachau, and thousands more that were not recorded.


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Nazi ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’ sign stolen from gate at Dachau concentration camp

November 2nd, 2014

She said a private security service supervises the site but officials had decided against surveillance of the former camp with video cameras because they didn’t want to turn it into a “maximum-security unit.”

That decision may now have to be reviewed, she added.

Police have not yet identified any suspects, but neo-Nazis and Holocaust deniers have targeted concentration camps in the past, stealing soil and other artefacts.

In 2009 a sign containing the same notorious words was briefly stolen from the entrance to the Auschwitz Nazi concentration camp in Poland. It was recovered three days later.

The theft drew worldwide condemnation, particularly from Israel and Jewish groups.

Anders Hoegstroem, one of the men who confessed to the theft, was a Swedish neo-Nazi leader. He was jailed for 32 months after striking a plea bargain with Polish authorities.

Dachau, near Munich in Germany, was the first concentration camp set up by the Nazis in 1933. More than 40,000 prisoners died there before it was liberated by US forces on April 29, 1945.

Angela Merkel became the first German chancellor to visit the former concentration camp in August last year, where she expressed “shame” at the crimes of the Nazi regime.


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