Saturday, 9 January 2010
Motive behind stolen Auschwitz sign revealed
When I first learned of the theft of the ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’ sign from the entrance to Auschwitz concentration camp, I wondered what the motive behind the theft could have been.
To remove evidence for the Holocaust? Hardly.
To protest against the Holocaust 'hoax'? Possibly.
To insult the memory of all those who perished in the camps just prior to the 65th anniversary of the liberation? Quite possibly.
To sell it as scrap metal? A bit of a risk.
The infamous sign which spanned the entrance to the death camp was wrenched from the gate on December 18 but was recovered three days later from a nearby forest. The robbery prompted Poland to declare a state of emergency and camp survivors to appeal for its return. Polish police described the five men they arrested as common criminals who had acted for financial gain. According to the Swedish daily Aftonbladet, the men were contracted by a neo-Nazi group which planned to sell it to a third party, a foreign right-wing extremist and collector of Nazi memorabilia, with the aim of using the funds to finance bombings in Sweden.
Polish state television TVP1 quoted officials as saying that Swedish neo-Nazis were behind the theft. The Swedish justice ministry has stated that it is helping the Polish police with the investigation. The Swedish security service Sapo confirmed that it was investigating a neo-Nazi plot to blow up the parliament building in Stockholm, as well as the foreign ministry and the home of Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt. Sapo said that the plot aimed to disrupt the parliamentary elections.
The five suspected robbers, aged between 25 and 39, have criminal records but none is suspected of having a neo-Nazi background, according to The Guardian. They were to receive for the sign a total of 20,000 Zlotys (about £3,000).
Last week The Sunday Mirror reported that the impetus for the theft came from a wealthy British Nazi sympathizer. The collector, whose name was withheld, allegedly let it be known through the neo-Nazi network that he would pay a lot of money for the sign he wanted as a trophy.
Isn’t it weird that although many neo-Nazis deny the Holocaust, they still want trophies to commemorate the ‘hoax of the twentieth century’.