WARSAW, Poland (JTA) — An Italian man who stole a one-foot piece of barbed wire from Auschwitz was released from police custody.
The man, 66, was released after leading police to the artifact, The Associated Press reported Sunday. He had been arrested the night before at the airport in Krakow when he tried to leave the country with the wire in his luggage. He explained he did it because his father died in Auschwitz.
This is not the first theft at Auschwitz. In the most well-known case, thieves in December 2009 stole the inscription "Arbeit macht frei" from above the gate of the former camp and cut it into at least three pieces. The perpetrators were apprehended and sentenced to jail.
At least 1.1 million people, mostly Jews, were killed at Auschwitz-Birkenau.