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Poland asks Sweden to probe Auschwitz theft

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Poland asks Sweden to probe Auschwitz theft
Photo: Jarek Praszkiewicz/AP/Scanpix (file)
12:35 CEST+02:00
Poland has asked Sweden to question three suspects about the theft of the "Arbeit macht frei" sign at the Nazi death camp at Auschwitz, Polish prosecutors said on Thursday.

"We are asking Swedish justice authorities to question three people, all of

them Swedish citizens, in the presence of our prosecutors investigating the

case," Krakow regional prosecutor spokeswoman Boguslawa Marcinkowska told AFP.

"The questioning is very important to the investigation," she added, but she refused to reveal the identity of the persons to be questioned.

Polish media reports say that Swedish millionaire Lars-Göran Wahlström allegedly asked Anders Högström to arrange the theft late last year of the infamous sign.

Last week, Polish court remanded in custody Högström, a former leader of the Swedish far-right, until September 9th.

Högström was extradited to Poland from Sweden in April and initially remanded for three months to give prosecutors probing the theft more time to question him. Högström was arrested in Sweden on a Polish warrant in February. He risks 10 years in prison if convicted.

Prosecutors have said Högström denies plotting the theft of the gateway

sign from the site of the camp in the southern Polish city of Oswiecim, which

has became a notorious symbol of genocide by the occupying Nazi Germans.

Polish police recovered the five-metre metal sign -- which means "Work will Set you free" in German -- two days after it went missing in December.

They have already arrested and charged five Polish men for the theft, three of whom, considered relatively minor, have already been sentenced to two and a half years in prison. The two others, suspected of playing a far more prominent role in the theft, are to be tried after Högström has been questioned.

In 1994, Högström founded the National Socialist Front (Nationalsocialistisk front, NSF), a Swedish neo-Nazi movement he ran for five years before quitting.

He has told Swedish media he was to act as an intermediary to pick up the sign and sell it to a buyer, adding however that he informed Polish police about the people behind the plot.

Of the 6 million Jews who perished in the Holocaust, 1 million were

murdered at Auschwitz, mostly in the camp's notorious gas chambers, along with tens of thousands of others, including Poles, Roma and Soviet prisoners of war.

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