Auschwitz sign was stolen for wealthy British Nazi
EXCLUSIVE by Michael Woodhead • Daily Mirror
Collector wanted it as a sick trophy
A wealthy British Nazi sympathiser was behind the theft of the infamous sign above the Auschwitz death camp.
The shadowy figure was the intended buyer of the iconic 16ft-long metalwork – one of the Holocaust’s most potent symbols.
The sign, stolen two weeks ago, bears the German words “Arbeit Macht Frei” – the Nazi motto “Work Sets You Free”.
Now a Sunday Mirror investigation has revealed that the sign – recovered in three pieces by police – was destined for a rich UK collector of Nazi memorabilia, via an extreme-right group in Sweden.
Five Polish men have been arrested by police in Poland, but well-placed underworld informants say they were just bit-part players in an operation designed to sneak the sign across Europe to Britain.
“The collector wanted it as a trophy – and used his neo-Nazi contacts to put word out he was prepared to pay huge money for it,” a source in Sweden said.
“Arrangements had been made to hide the sign in a cellar in Stockholm, waiting for the British man to collect. The plan was to use the British guy’s money to fund neo-Nazi hate attacks in Sweden.”
Had the British buyer gone ahead with the deal, his cash could have funded dissident Nazi sympathisers in Sweden who are advocating terrorist acts to disrupt this year’s elections there.
But the operation came unstuck when the crooks panicked at the sudden security clampdown in Poland, prompted by worldwide revulsion at the theft.
The gang fled from the Baltic port of Gdansk and dumped the sign in woods nearby.
It was later recovered after a tip-off from a middleman in Stockholm.
Besides the five Poles, police said that “a European mastermind” could be arrested after evidence gathered through Interpol.
[Hat Tip: Seymour.]