British teens accused of stealing artifacts from Auschwitz will stand trial


(JTA) — Two British teens accused of stealing items from the site of the Auschwitz-Birkenau museum in Poland will go on trial, a Polish court ruled.

On Monday, a court in Krakow decided not to drop the case against the 17-year-olds from Hertfordshire, in southern England, who face up to 10 years in prison if found guilty. It sent the case on charges of simple theft to a court in Oswiecim, where the former Nazi death camp is located, The Associated Press reported.

The teens had initially pleaded guilty and were levied a fine of 1,000 Polish zlotys, worth about $2,600, as punishment for the June 2015 incident. They were allowed to return home, but later their attorneys called for the case to be dropped, asserting the teens were not aware of the special cultural significance of the objects.

The Krakow court said the items were of no special historic value, but ordered the trial, according to AP.

Museum guards stopped the teenagers while they were on a trip with the independent Perse School in Cambridge. The teens were found to have hidden in their bags fragments of a hair clipper, glass from the barracks and buttons taken from the area of the former Birkenau camp called “Canada,” where during the war stood warehouses filled with items looted from Jews.

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