A wealthy British Nazi sympathizer is behind the theft of the Auschwitz death camp gate sign, the British Sunday Mirror reported.
According to the report, the "Arbeit Macht Frei" sign, which was stolen some two weeks ago and recovered two days later damaged and cut into three pieces, was destined for a UK collector of Nazi memorabilia, who used a Swedish neo-Nazi group to carry out the task of stealing it.
A source in Sweden told the Mirror: “The collector wanted it as a trophy – and used his neo-Nazi contacts to put word out he was prepared to pay huge money for it.
“Arrangements had been made to hide the sign in a cellar in Stockholm, waiting for the British man to collect. The plan was to use the British guy’s money to fund neo-Nazi hate attacks in Sweden.”
Damaged sign after being recovered by police (Photo: AP)
Had the deal been successfully executed, it is believed that the buyer's funds would have been used to support extreme rightists wishing to carry out terror attacks and disrupt the upcoming elections in Sweden.
Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet recently reported that the sign's buyer was not a Swedish citizen, despite the fact that the group working to obtain it was an underground neo-Nazi group in the Scandinavian country.
According to Aftonbladet, the neo-Nazi group had planned to assassinate Sweden's leaders during the upcoming election year.
Reports say the group was in possession of weapons and detailed plans of how to infiltrate the parliament building in Stockholm via its visitors' hall, and from there shoot the prime minister and the foreign minister.
Following the affair's exposure, Poland requested Sweden launch an in-depth investigation into the theft, and the request was passed on to the Justice Ministry in Stockholm.