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'Auschwitz thief no priority': Swedish police

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'Auschwitz thief no priority': Swedish police
08:01 CET+01:00
Swedish police have now issued an arrest warrant for Anders Högström, the 35-year-old Swede suspected of being the mastermind behind the theft of the "Arbeit Macht Frei" sign from the Auschwitz death camp.

Since the indictment of Högström by Polish justice authorities last month has now been translated and passed on to prosecutor Agneta Hilding Qvarnström, Swedish police are obliged to arrest him on sight.

Qvarnström was on Wednesday unwilling to confirm any measures so far taken to secure the man's arrest, citing the right to confidentiality.

But according to news agency TT police sources, the 35-year-old is not a prioritized case and they have not dispatched units to secure his arrest. Instead, local police will be tasked with handling the case.

Anders Högström is registered to a address in central Stockholm, but has previously lived in Karlskrona in Blekinge County in southern Sweden.

"It is an international arrest order and thus carries a certain weight in comparison with 'regular' matters. At the same time it does not mean that we're going to send out a hunting party for him," said Thomas Pärlklo at Blekinge police.

The Local reported on February 2nd that a European arrest warrant had been issued for Högström for his alleged involvement in the December 18th theft of the sign from the gate of the notorious camp set up in occupied Poland by Nazi Germany during World War II.

Högström, a former neo-Nazi, has told Swedish media he was supposed to act as an intermediary to pick up the sign and sell it to a buyer, but in the end he wound up informing Polish police about the people behind the plot.

The sign was recovered by Polish police two days after the theft and five Polish men were arrested and charged.

The five-metre (16-foot) metal inscription - which means "Work Will Set You Free" in German - long symbolised the horror of the camp where some 1.1 million people, one million of them Jews, fell victim to Nazi German genocide from 1940 to 1945.

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