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Sweden arrests Auschwitz sign suspect

AFP/The Local · 11 Feb 2010, 18:25

Published: 11 Feb 2010 15:35 GMT+01:00
Updated: 11 Feb 2010 18:25 GMT+01:00

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The arrest took place "during the afternoon in Stockholm, at his home," prosecutor Agneta Hilding Qvarnström told AFP.

"He is currently held at the police station and he has asked for a lawyer, which we are trying to get him," she added.

Hilding Qvarnstroem would not detail the charges brought against Högström.

She said a Stockholm court would decide whether to extradite him.

The prosecutor on Wednesday had instructed Swedish police to arrest Högström, 34.

Poland issued a European arrest warrant for Högström on February 2nd, after Sweden provided additional information on the suspect's place of birth, parents' names and residence.

Polish justice authorities indicted Högström in January 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 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.

"I was asked if I wanted to take the sign from one location to another," he told tabloid Aftonbladet on January 8th.

"We had a person who was willing to pay several million (kronor, or hundreds of thousands of dollars/euros) for the sign," he said.

Polish police recovered the five-metre (16-foot) metal sign, whose German inscription means "Work Will Set You Free" in English, on December 20th, two days after the theft, and arrested and charged five Polish men.

The sign, which had been cut into three parts, was returned by investigators to the Auschwitz museum on January 21st, less than a week before commemorations marking the 65th anniversary of the camp's liberation by Soviet troops.

Högström in 1994 founded the National Socialist Front, a Swedish neo-Nazi movement he headed for five years before quitting.

Story continues below…

He had claimed he helped police nab the people behind the theft, telling Aftonbladet, "I'm proud to have revealed everything."

But a Krakow police spokeswoman denied at the time that he had played any role in helping police.

"The phone call from Sweden came as we were already in the process of arresting the thieves," she said.

The sign has 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.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

19:05 February 11, 2010 by Jan M
Since when do Zionists need to set up fascists? I'm delighted he's been arrested. Now what about the Baltic SS collaborators who worked in the concentration camps and have been living undisturbed in Sweden since the end of the 2nd World War. That's not a Zionist set up either by the way just reality. I'll be ecstatic if this means that the Swedish authorities are going to turn the heat up but I doubt they will.
20:28 February 11, 2010 by iddqd
ridiculously much media attention (at least on thelocal) for that story...

luckily sweden will remain reasonable, look at all the facts and then punish or not punish for being a middleman in stealing a piece of iron...
21:24 February 11, 2010 by conboy
Lars Göran Walhström his financier is not arrested and not charged ans his bag carrier takes the fall in any even better one than none ....
21:35 February 11, 2010 by peropaco
That picture from the article looks like many of the houses on the outskirts of Stockholm
03:07 February 12, 2010 by Davey-jo
I am just wondering how you can be a "former neo-Nazi"; do you undergo a Damascene conversion or is it just a pile of horse droppings?
14:50 February 12, 2010 by speedygonzales
I am not surprised that Sweden has nazi + thieves. Authorities spread hate against immigrants and that's clear racism, artist and journalists participate in war propaganda against Muslims, and that's clear racism, racist artists get protection from political police, one more proof about institutional racism, many Germans ran away to Sweden after II World War, so I am not surprized to see so much fascism in Sweden. Police would be much faster if immigrants stole something, but when Swedish nazi steal something, police is mega slow.
17:44 February 12, 2010 by Nordland88
This is not to minimize the heinousnes of the sign theft in any way. However it seems obvious that the sign stolen was probably not the original anyway. In stories of the incident it was mentioned that a substitute sign was immediately put in place after the theft. Given that a great many years have now passed since the infamous camp was quickly constructed of not too enduring materials it would be amazing if the original sign had not corroded away and had to have been replaced to keep up the original appearance. Odds are that the nazigutt who snatched the sign had only gotten a replica.
17:46 February 12, 2010 by ThureWallenberg
Weird thing to do. Even weirder to imagine you would get away with such a theft.
19:16 February 12, 2010 by mombassa
speedygonzales, you're being racist against Germans... oh wait, you have good reasons to be racist against Germans.

Just like Swedes have excellent reasons to be racist against the Muslim immigrants in their midst.

I'm not advocating violence but for the good of Sweden the Muslims immigrants ought to be handed one way tickets to whereever they came from. They multiply like rabbits and are a danger to selfish hedonist Swedes who are not having children.
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