The alleged instigator of the theft of the “Arbeit macht frei” (“Work will set you free”) sign from the former Nazi concentration camp at Auschwitz, a man living in Sweden, is said to have intended to use the proceeds from the sale of the sign to finance an assassination plot at the Swedish Parliament and at the prime minister’s headquarters in Stockholm. The claim was reported in the Swedish media Jan. 2, citing sources in that country’s intelligence services.
Poland’s media reported Jan. 2 that Polish Justice Minister Krzysztof Kwiatkowski had requested Swedish Justice Minister Beatrice Ask to arrest the alleged instigator. According to the Swedish daily Aftonbladet, the accused instigator wanted to sell the sign and use the proceeds to finance bomb attacks on the Swedish Parliament and the headquarters of Swedish PM Frederik Reinfeldt. SAEPO, the Swedish secret service, recently announced it had initiated an investigation into a neo-Nazi conspiracy, part of which included an attack on important state buildings. Polish daily Gazeta Wyborcza reported before Christmas that according to the preliminary results of the investigation, a certain Swede had ordered the theft and offered to pay between up to 30,000 euros.
The sign disappeared from the gate of the former concentration camp in the early morning hours of Dec. 18. Police later found it in the municipality of Czernikowo, near Toruń in the Kuyavian-Pomeranian voivodeship. It was hidden in woods under a pile of branches and snow near the home of one of the arrested suspects. Police arrested five people, three of whom have reportedly confessed to the crime. The sign will be repaired and re-installed over the entrance to the former camp, which is now a memorial.
According to historians, 1.1 million Jews, 140,000 Polish political prisoners, 20,000 Roma, 10,000 Soviet prisoners of war, and thousands of other prisoners of various nationalities, died at Auschwitz during World War II. (Romea, Jan. 4)