Polish police found the infamous “Arbeit Macht Frei” sign that was stolen from the gate of the former Nazi death camp of Auschwitz after an intensive three-day hunt and arrested five suspects, police said early Monday. The sign was found cut into three pieces.
Police spokeswoman Katarzyna Padlo told The Associated Press that the sign was found Sunday night in northern Poland, the other end of the country from the southern Polish town where the Auschwitz memorial museum is located and where it disappeared before dawn Friday.
Padlo said police detained five men between the ages of 25 and 39 and took them for questioning to Krakow, which is the regional command of the area that includes the Auschwitz museum.
Another police spokesman, Dariusz Nowak, said the 16-foot (5-meter) sign, made of hollow steel, was found cut into three pieces, each containing one of the words. The cruelly ironic phrase means “Work Sets You Free” and ran completely counter to the purpose of Auschwitz, which began as a concentration camp for political prisoners during the Nazi occupation of Poland and evolved into anextermination camp where Jews were gassed to death in factory-like fashion.