(JTA) — Poland has made a formal request to Sweden for help in investigating the theft of the sign from the entrance to Auschwitz.
"This request is now being passed on to the Prosecutor-General, who will decide which pubic prosecution office will handle the case," said Martin Valfridsson, a spokesman for Swedish Justice Minister Beatrice Ask, according to The Local, a Swedish news publication.
Early on the morning of Dec. 18, the iconic wrought-iron Arbeit Macht Frei sign was stolen from the memorial at the prison camp of Auschwitz. It was recovered 72 hours later, sawed into three pieces and set to be shipped out of the country.
Five Polish men were arrested for their alleged involvement in the theft.
A wealthy British Nazi sympathizer was the intended buyer of the sign, via an extreme-right wing group in Sweden, the British newspaper Mirror reported over the weekend.
The stolen sign was supposed to be hidden in Stockholm until the British man could arrange to get it. The money for the theft was going to be used to fund neo-Nazi hate attacks in Sweden, the Mirror reported, quoting a source in Sweden.