Swede jailed for Auschwitz sign theft

Swede jailed for Auschwitz sign theft
A Polish court on Thursday sentenced a Swedish neo-Nazi leader who admitted to masterminding the theft of the Auschwitz death camp entrance sign, to 32 months behind bars in his homeland.

Anders Högström, 34, who had risked up to 10 years behind bars if convicted in Poland of masterminding the theft, struck a plea deal announced late November before his case reached court.

On Thursday, a court in the southern Polish city of Krakow, accepted the 32-month prison term agreed in the plea bargain.

“He will serve the sentence in Sweden, in accordance with an agreement with Swedish justice authorities,” Polish court spokesman Rafal Lisak told AFP Thursday after the court announced its verdict.

Anders Högström was arrested in Sweden on a Polish warrant in February on suspicion of ordering the theft of the infamous “Arbeit macht frei” sign from the site of the World War II Nazi camp in the southern Polish city of Oswiecim.

Polish police recovered the five-metre metal sign — which means “Work Will Set You Free” in German — two days after it went missing late last year. It had been chopped into three pieces.

Five Polish men were arrested and charged with the actual theft of the sign, three of whom have already been sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison.

The two others are still to face trial.

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

He 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 six million Jews who perished in the Holocaust, one 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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