(JTA) — A Swedish court ruled that the man accused of organizing the theft of the "Arbeit Macht Frei” sign from the front gate of Auschwitz can be extradited to Poland.
Anders Hogstrom, a former Swedish neo-Nazi, can be handed over to Polish authorities, the court ruled Thursday.
Hogstrom is suspected of ordering five Polish men to steal the metal sign. He reportedly acted as an agent for a British Nazi sympathizer who wanted it.
Hogstrom can appeal the decision within three weeks. If his appeal is rejected, he will be deported within 10 days.
Three of the men who allegedly cut up and stole the sign reportedly confessed to the crime earlier this week. They 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.
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.