Warrant issued for Auschwitz theft mastermind


(JTA) — A Polish court has issued a European-wide warrant for the arrest of a Swedish man suspected of ordering the theft of the famous Auschwitz sign.

The warrant, issued Tuesday, is for Anders Hogstrom, a former Swedish neo-Nazi, according to reports. Hogstrom is suspected of ordering five Polish men, who have been arrested by local authorities, to steal the metal sign reading "Arbeit macht frei" from the front gate of the former concentration camp, now a memorial.

Hogstrom reportedly acted as an agent for a British Nazi sympathizer who wanted the sign.

The warrant requires authorities in the 27 member states of the European Union to arrest Hogstrom and turn him over to the Polish authorities.

The 16-foot metal sign, which means "work makes you free," was stolen Dec. 18 and recovered across the country 72 hours later.

Experts are working to restore the sign, which had been cut into three pieces. It is not certain that the sign will be returned to its place; a copy was placed at the front gate immediately after the theft.

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

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