$40,000 Offered for Infamous Auschwitz “Arbet Macht Frei” Sign


auschwitzPoland is offering a reward for the return of the German-language sign “Arbet macht frei” (“Work makes you free”), whose theft from the former Nazi Auschwitz death camp has shocked many Poles. The Prime Minister’s Office also has ordered an investigation, the PAP news agency said today. The reward of 115,000 zlotys (about $39,000) is being offered by the Auschwitz museum, police and anonymous donors for information leading to the return of the metal sign which hung over the entrance to the death camp, PAP said.

“I am shocked and outraged by the theft of a recognizable symbol of Nazi cynicism and cruelty,” President Lech Kaczynski said in a statement.

“Everything must be done to find and punish the offenders… and I appeal to all my compatriots who can help the law-enforcement authorities.”

The sign, intended to delude Jews and others who were brought to the camp to be gassed to death into thinking they were entering a work camp, was stolen on Friday, sparking an international outcry and soul-searching within Poland.

Some 1.5 million Jews were killed at the camp during World War Two as part of Nazi Germany’s extermination program, and Auschwitz has come to symbolize the Holocaust in which six million Jews perished.

Following talks with Israeli President Shimon Peres at the Copenhagen climate conference, Prime Minister Donald Tusk told TVN24: “Clearing up this matter is a top priority. I am sure those responsible will soon be caught.”

{Reuters/Noam Amdurski-Matzav.com Newscenter}