(JTA) — Three of the men who allegedly cut up and stole the “Arbeit Macht Frei” sign from the front gate of Auschwitz have confessed to the crime.
The men are facing prison terms of up to three years, the Krakow Post reported Tuesday, citing the Prosecutor’s Office in Krakow.
The 16-foot metal sign, which means "work makes you free," was cut into three pieces and stolen on Dec. 18; it was recovered across the country 72 hours later.
Anders Hogstrom, a former Swedish neo-Nazi, is suspected of ordering five Polish men to steal the metal sign. Hogstrom, who is in custody in Sweden and awaiting extradition to Poland, reportedly acted as an agent for a British Nazi sympathizer who wanted the sign.
Experts are working to restore the sign. It is not certain that the sign will be returned to its place; a copy that was placed at the front gate immediately after the theft remains there.
Some 1.1 million people, including about 1 million Jews, were murdered at Auschwitz.