Abandoned Detroit auto plant sports ‘Arbeit Macht Frei’ sign


(JTA) — A sign on the overpass of an automotive plant in Detroit reads in German "Work will make you Free," evoking images of the sign on the gate of Auschwitz.

The red letters on white pieces of paper in the windows of the overpass at the Packard Automotive Plant reads "Arbeit Macht Frei," the Detroit Free Press reported Monday.

The letters are configured as they are on the Auschwitz sign, including printing the upper half of the letter “B” in “Arbeit” bigger than the lower half.

According to the Detroit Free Press, the sign is believed to have been posted earlier this year. It is not known who installed the sign.

"The prominent display of this quote at a historic Detroit landmark is disturbing and deeply offensive to victims of the Holocaust and to those who fought valiantly in World War II," said ADL Detroit regional director Heidi Budaj in a statement Tuesday. "The fact the perpetrators inverted the letter B, in a copy of the distinct lettering in the original sign at Auschwitz, is especially chilling and shows that this was an intentional and malicious act."

The plant has been abandoned for at least a decade. Wayne County foreclosed on the plant last November.

In 2009, the original sign at Auschwitz was vandalized and broken into three pieces. The theft was coordinated by a Swedish neo-Nazi, who was sentenced to three years in prison in 2011, the same year the sign was repaired.

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