Sign returned to Auschwitz


(JTA) — The "Arbeit Macht Frei" sign stolen from the memorial at the Auschwitz death camp was returned.

Polish police returned the 16-foot metal sign from the front gate of the camp during a ceremony Thursday in Krakow.

The sign, which means "work makes you free," was stolen Dec. 18 and recovered across the country 72 hours later.

Experts will now try to restore the sign, though it is not certain that it will be returned to its place; a copy was placed at the front gate immediately after the theft. The stolen sign had been cut into three pieces. 

Five Polish men have been charged with the theft, though a Swedish neo-Nazi is suspected of ordering the crime.

There are about 450 buildings and remains of buildings at the site, including the ruins of gas chambers, as well as 80,000 pairs of shoes of victims and 3,800 suitcases.

Some 1.1 million people, including about 1 million Jews, were murdered at Auschwitz.

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