Shoes belonging to Holocaust victims stolen from former Nazi concentration camp in Poland

More than 78,000 Jews were killed at Majdanek in three years

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The Independent Online

Eight shoes that belonged to victims of the Holocaust have been stolen from a former German concentration camp in Poland.

The camp, now a state-run museum, displays 56,000 shoes behind a metal mesh that all belonged to Jews who were killed by the Nazis during the Second World War.

Other exhibits at the Majdanek site have been targeted in the past, and thefts included a victim’s ashes and a cap that belonged to a prisoner.

Police say the latest incident occurred between the 18 and 20 of November, when a museum employee noticed that the net had been cut and shoes were missing, local media reported.

Majdanek was built in 1941 and abandoned in 1944. During that period, more than 78,000 people were killed in its gas chambers.

A handout image provided by the Majdanek State Museum on 25 November 2014 shows prisoner's shoes on display

A spokesman from the museum told BBC News that the exhibit aimed to show visitors the scale of the Nazis' crime. He told the broadcaster that the theft was “a great loss to the museum” as he shoes have “huge historical value”.

It comes after an iconic gate carrying the words “Arbeit macht frei” was stolen last month from the site of the Dachau concentration camp.

And that incident followed the theft and part-destruction of the most famous “Arbeit macht frei” sign at Auschwitz in 2009. The original was recovered and placed in a museum, while a replica now sits over the gate itself.

Additional reporting by AP