ADL Shocked at Theft of Historic Symbol of Holocaust at Auschwitz
Update: (12/21/2009) Police recovered the stolen sign across the country in northern Poland. The sign had been cut into three pieces, and five men were arrested in connection with the theft.
New York, NY, December 18, 2009 …The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today expressed shock and disbelief at the unconscionable theft of the infamous "Arbeit Macht Frei" sign from the former Nazi death camp Auschwitz.
According to museum officials, the iron sign was stolen early Friday morning after having been unscrewed and ripped from its moorings at the Holocaust memorial site in southern Poland.
Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director and a Holocaust survivor from Poland, issued the following statement:
It is outrageous and shocking that someone would deliberately vandalize and remove the symbol of the Holocaust. This crime strikes at the very memory of the symbol representing the cynicism of Nazism, this sign that greeted more than one million prisoners as they were herded into the Auschwitz nightmare with the duplicitous message that "work sets you free."
The Polish authorities need to apprehend and bring to justice not only those who carried out this unconscionable theft, but those who permitted it to be done. There's something wrong that this institution, which stands as a testament to the magnitude of the Nazi killing machine, could be left so unprotected that this could happen.
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The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.