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Arbeit Macht Frei gate stolen from Dachau concentration camp

The theft of the historic wrought iron gate happened during the night.

Dachau World War II Nazi Concentration Camp Memorial Site.
Dachau World War II Nazi Concentration Camp Memorial Site.
Image: Hugh Rooney

AN IRON GATE with the infamous sign “Arbeit macht frei” (“Work will set you free”) at the former Nazi concentration camp at Dachau in southern Germany has been stolen.

The theft of the historic wrought iron gate apparently happened overnight, police said in a statement.

The site has no surveillance system, but is monitored by security guards and the theft apparently took place between their rounds of the camp, said police, who have appealed for any possible witnesses.

‘Ignoble act’

The head of the foundation of memorial sites in the Bavaria region and an elected official, Karl Freller, called the theft an “ignoble act”.

The Dachau camp, located a few kilometres from Munich, opened in 1933, less than two months after Adolf Hitler became German chancellor. It was initially set up as a place to incarcerate political prisoners before becoming a death camp during World War II killing more than 41,000 Jews.

The camp was liberated by US troops on 29 April 1945. Today some 800,000 visitors from around the world visit the camp each year.

The same “Work will set you free” sign at the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp in Poland was stolen in 2009, sparking a global outcry.

The mastermind of that theft, Swedish neo-Nazi Anders Hoegstroem, was jailed for two-and-a-half years.

The metal sign was eventually recovered cut up into three pieces, leading museum officials to display a replica above the entrance until it was restored in 2011.

© – AFP 2014

Opinion: On what would have been Anne Frank’s 85th birthday, let’s remember our shared history>

Read: 89-year-old man arrested in the US for alleged war crimes as a teenage guard at Auschwitz>

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