Neo-Nazis trying to finance assassination plot are behind theft of Auschwitz sign
The alleged instigator of the theft of the “Arbeit macht frei” (“Work will set you free”) sign from the former concentration camp at Auschwitz, a man living in Sweden, is said to have intended to use the proceeds of the sale of the sign to finance an assassination plot at the Swedish Parliament and at the prime minister’s headquarters in Stockholm. The news was reported in the Swedish media on 2 January with reference to that country’s intelligence services.
Polish media reported on 2 January that Polish Justice Minister Krzysztof Kwiatkowski had requested Swedish Justice Minister Beatrice Ask to arrest the alleged instigator. Polish investigators have already discovered his identity.
According to the Swedish daily Aftonbladet as cited by AFP, the alleged instigator wanted to sell the sign and use the proceeds to finance bomb attacks on the Swedish Parliament and the headquarters of Swedish PM Frederik Reinfeldt. Saepo, the Swedish secret service, recently announced it had initiated an investigation into a neo-Nazi conspiracy, part of which included an attack on important state buildings.
Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza reported before Christmas that according to the preliminary results of the investigation, a certain Swede had ordered the theft and offered to pay between EUR 10 000 – 30 000. Polish police refused to comment on the news, but did indicate that someone from abroad was evidently behind the crime.
The sign disappeared from the gate of the former concentration camp in the early morning hours of 18 December. Police later found it in the municipality of Czernikowo not far from Toruń in the Kuyavian-Pomeranian voivodeship. It was hidden in the woods under a pile of branches and snow near the home of one of the arrested suspects.
Police arrested five people, three of whom have confessed to the crime. The sign will be repaired and re-installed over the entrance to the former camp, which is now a memorial.
According to historians, 1.1 million Jews, 140 000 political prisoners from Poland, 20 000 Roma, 10 000 Soviet prisoners of war and thousands of other prisoners of various nationalities died at the Auschwitz concentration camp, which was established and run by Nazi Germany during the Second World War.