The suspected thieves of the Arbeit Macht Frei ("Work Sets You Free") from the Auschwitz death camp in Poland planned on smuggling the metal sign on a ferry to Sweden, according to a report on Polish state radio Tuesday.
According to the report, the sign was destined for a Swedish citizen. It remains unclear whether or not the Swede was a middle man or the person who commissioned the theft. The Polish police declined comment and would not confirm or deny the report.
The damaged sign (Photo: AP)
Meanwhile, the investigation of the five men arrested Monday for their alleged involvement in the theft continues. Three of the suspects already confessed to stealing the sign and to slicing it into three signs. They will be put on trial. If they are found guilty, they will likely be sentenced to 10 year in prison. Police sources in Krakow reported that tools used for cutting the sign were found during a search of one of the suspect's apartment.
Polish police estimated that the motive for the crime was political, not anti-Semitic. "We can say that the five suspects are not members of the neo-Nazi movement," the police reported at the end of the suspects' interrogations.
Officials at the Auschwitz memorial museum said Monday that a new security system will be installed at the site to better protecting not just the recovered sign but many other objects testifying to Nazi crimes from two tons of human hair to a trove of written documents to the ruins of gas chambers now sinking into the earth.