Tourists caught trying to smuggle bricks out of Auschwitz


(JTA) — Two visitors to the Auschwitz-Birkenau Memorial and Museum were caught trying to steal bricks from one of the crematoria located in the former Nazi death camp.

The two Hungarian tourists, a man, 36, and a woman, 30, were caught Saturday after two other tourists saw them hiding the bricks in a bag and notified security, the Polish-language reported.

They admitted to the attempted theft and each was fined 1,500 zloty, or about $400, and given a suspended jail sentence of one year, the Frenchnews agency AFP reported.

“They explained that they had wanted to bring back a souvenir and didn’t realize the consequences of their actions,” regional police press officer Mateusz Drwal told the Polish news agency PAP.

There have been several incidents of tourists stealing artifacts from the former Nazi death camp in the past few years.

In 2009, the “Arbeit macht frei” sign, meaning “Work sets you free,” was stolen from above the entrance to the Auschwitz I concentration camp. The three thieves were sentenced to prison terms ranging from six months to 2 1/2 years.

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