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Swedish collector behind Auschwitz theft: reports

Charlotte West · 22 Dec 2009, 15:45

Published: 22 Dec 2009 13:54 GMT+01:00
Updated: 22 Dec 2009 15:45 GMT+01:00

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The German sign, which reads "Arbeit macht frei" ("Work sets you free"), was stolen from Auschwitz on Friday. Five male suspects were detained early on Monday, when the sign was also recovered by Polish authorities.

Several Polish media sources cited involvement of a Swedish citizen, who reportedly offered the thieves between €10,000 and €30,000 to commit the crime, Aftonbladet reports.

It is unknown whether or not the Swede in question has been identified and if he or she will be arrested. There have been several media reports indicating that the sign was to be transported to Sweden.

"We have been cooperating with... all international agencies and institutions around the world... It is possible that a person could be detained (on a European warrant)," Polish police spokesman Dariusz Nowak said during a press conference, according to Reuters.

Reuters reported that Nowak declined to comment on Polish media reports that a Swedish collector might have been involved in the crime.

Story continues below…

"The question of the mysterious Swede has appeared ... I cannot confirm or deny this ... Of course they (the five suspects) didn't steal it to have it in their collection. So it looks more and more that somebody else is behind this," Nowak said.

Charlotte West (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

15:15 December 22, 2009 by Lars J
I think a better translation of "arbeit macht frei" would be "work sets you free".

On the speculation of who, it must be someone with a lot of money. Could it maybe be that heir to Wasa bröd? He has a lot of money and a history of right wing extremism.
16:27 December 22, 2009 by lordwilliams629
Lars J, why is there always political extremist like you who have to throw politics into the fray. This isnt about left or right extremism, this is about some theives stealing a historical artifact for their own personal gain.
18:08 December 22, 2009 by Jan M
That's right. Sweden takes a hard line against fascist groups and is not a hotbed for right wing extremism ;-)
19:33 December 22, 2009 by israeli
how is it that of all nations, it is sweden that emitted the person that have no respect to the saints of the holocauste? what is wrong with sweden lately? how did a country that was pregressive and promoted equlity and justice become a nest of racism and cynicism?
20:24 December 22, 2009 by martell
There is nothing wrong with Sweden concerning racism, israeli. Sweden has become so unracists that they preferredly take in foreigners from cultures which are not compatible with the autochthonous culture and which bring in illiteracy, violent crime and unemployability for the generations to come.

By the way, there are no saints but only victims of the genocide of the jews in Germany. Victims are victims everywhere in the world, and none are better than other ones none are victims first class because of their religion or 'race'.
21:11 December 22, 2009 by wxman
Having both Swedish and German ancestry, I follow both Locals on a daily basis. Given that, why am I not surprised a Swede was behind this??
22:32 December 22, 2009 by lordwilliams629
Theives live and grow in all parts of the world, because the person behind this is a swede is insignficant, unless there's something about the swedish that you know and we don't wxman?
23:07 December 22, 2009 by Jan M
Wxman. You're not surprised that there's a Swedish connection as opposed to a German connection because a range of crimes that are deemed neo-Nazi and unconstitutional in Germany are classified as democratic acts of free speech in Sweden. As a result there are a reasonably large number of people in Sweden at present who are on the run from the German authorities.
23:41 December 22, 2009 by DreEstwd
I notice not so many Israelis on here since the Israeli Army admitted that it indeed harvested organs. Normally, they would be all over this thread. lol
03:11 December 23, 2009 by Davey-jo
There is on the BBC a reporter called Matt Frei. In our house I'm afraid that he is always called Albert Matt Frei whenever he appears. It's a vile pun I know but human nature is what it is.
03:46 December 23, 2009 by lingonberrie

Someone from the United States wanted that sign to hang in the Capitol Building.
08:05 December 23, 2009 by dsc
Just yet another piece of evidence that Hitler would have loved the average Swede.
15:45 December 23, 2009 by mkvgtired
Trowbridge, I dont think anyone is trying to embarrass Sweden. The fact is some (definitely not all) wealthy people think they can buy things they are not supposed to have, or are somehow above the law. Case in point is the Swedish driver doing over double the speed limit in Germany. He was not trying to embarrass Sweden, but just figured he could get away with it (and he did). It is truly irrelevant where he is from. It is ridiculous that people are trying to paint all Swedes as neo-Nazis from the actions of one (or even several) person(s).
21:49 December 23, 2009 by Greg in Canada
This is about a solitary crook that tried to steal something. The guy is only one Swede, not the whole country. Why do so many of you wish to turn this into a Sweden bashing thread. Get a life people.
20:23 December 24, 2009 by xykat
Does not surprise me since there are a lot of serious racist groups here.
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