US tourist caught stealing artefact from Auschwitz

The 37 year-old man is charged with attempted theft of an item of cultural importance

Peter Stubley
Sunday 31 March 2019 17:50
Auschwitz drone footage

An American tourist was caught trying to steal part of the rail tracks at the former Auschwitz death camp in Poland, according to officials.

The 37-year-old man faces up to ten years in prison after being charged with attempted theft of an item of cultural importance from the Holocaust memorial site.

He is said to have tried to take a metal part of the tracks where prisoners were unloaded during World War Two.

The man admitted his guilt, according to Malgorzata Jurecka, a police spokeswoman in the town of Oswiecim.

Earlier this month visitors to Auschwitz were asked to stop posing for photos while balancing on its infamous railway tracks.

It follows a series of thefts and incidents of vandalism at the site where more than 1.1 million Jews were killed.

In 2009 the famous 16ft-wide sign bearing the Nazi slogan “Arbeit Macht Frei” (Work Will Set You Free) was stolen from the front gate.

It was later found cut into pieces and a former Swedish neo-Nazi was jailed for more than two years for masterminding the theft.

Two British schoolboys were caught stealing artefacts from Auschwitz, including buttons and a razor, in 2015. They were later fined £400 each.

And last year an Israeli teenager was fined for urinating on a memorial commemorating the victims of the Holocaust at the Auschwitz-Birkenau museum.

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Details of the latest theft emerged as 700 Holocaust artefacts were transported to New York for an exhibition at the Museum of Jewish Heritage.

The exhibits include a vintage German train car like those used to transport men, women and children to Auschwitz and other Nazi death camps.

Additional reporting by Associated Press

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