The Associated Press had a story on a Nazi death camp. What was strange was that it was about a sign at Auschwitz that had been stolen.

The 16-foot sign said “Arbeit Macht Frei”…and really, who wouldn’t want those German words on a sign in their den.

It means “Work Sets You Free.” And, the criminals had to work pretty hard to get the sign.

They cut through rows of barbed wire and metal bars, and carried the thing out in the snow.

Over one million Jews were killed there during World War II, which I assume now is a big tourist attraction (in fact, the German government had announced it was donating $87 million to preserve the gas chambers and other areas of the camp).

The theft occurred between 3:30 a.m. and 5:00 a.m., when guards weren’t on duty.

And a $34,000 reward has been posted for info. I’m guessing that’s a lot more than someone would’ve gotten on eBay.

This reminded me of when I was in England and taking a tour of all the Beatles locations in Liverpool. On the bus down Penny Lane, the tour guide pointed out the fact that there were no street signs. Penny Lane was painted on various walls. And, I noticed the same thing on Abbey Road.

After thousands of street signs were stolen by Beatles fans, they decided it was too expensive to keep replacing them.

Nobody explained to me why the crosswalk where the Beatles so famously walked for their Abbey Road album cover, has a squiggly line painted across it. If it was done to curb the amount of tourists that hold up traffic while they snap photos, it hasn’t worked. People still do that daily.


magicsfive Dec. 19, 2009 @ 5:01 p.m.

When i was in nursing school, one of my patients was an Auschwitz survivor. She was so lovely, and had some amazing yet heartbreaking stories to tell. I will never ever forget her, or that tattoo on her arm. More recently, at one of my flu clinics, I met yet another Auschwitz survivor, a man, who also survived Dachau. I wish I could have talked with him.


KarenBP Dec. 19, 2009 @ 8:49 p.m.

i found that really odd that someone would steal that Auschwitz sign... i guess it's the thrill of doing it... weird.


rickeysays Dec. 20, 2009 @ 12:01 a.m.

Hopefully the idiot that did this will show it to someone with better judgement, and the sign will be returned or the guy will be turned in.


redsoxfan Dec. 20, 2009 @ 12:05 a.m.

Although I've never been to Auschwitz, I have been to Dachau near Munich, Germany. It's a very eerie and somber place. It's really just hard to believe that people would actually do these things under those conditions. There was also a sign on top of the gate at Dachau also, but much smaller.

Your trip to London reminds me of when I went to Dallas. In Dealy Plaza there is a red "X" in the middle of the street where JFK took the final shot to his head. This "momento" has tourists there daily walking into traffic, picture posing, walking behind the grassy knoll, etc.

And here I thought you've never left the country before!!


Russ Lewis Dec. 20, 2009 @ 12:35 a.m.

They probably just wanted the metal. Someone stole the JFK landmark at SDSU for the same reason.


Ponzi Dec. 20, 2009 @ 8:05 a.m.

I have driven in the UK on a few personal business trips. The “squiggly” lines (actually more a herringbone pattern) you saw painted on Abbey Road near the crosswalk are to indicate “no stopping and no parking” for cars.


Josh Board Dec. 21, 2009 @ 7:39 p.m.

Thanks for all the sign info.

I'm guessing it wasn't stolen just for the metal, as they had to go thru a lot to get to it.

I overheard someone once say the top of some church (I believe locally) was made of solid gold. And that it would be worth so much and speculated as to why nobody ever attempted to bring in a helicopter and boost it. Maybe that's a question for Matthew Alice.


Ponzi Dec. 22, 2009 @ 9:55 a.m.

I don’t know of a solid gold church steeple, but I do know the Mormon Temple in University City is topped by a 10 foot gold-leafed statue of the Angel Moroni.

Also, I think they only use crane helicopters to steal things in the movies.


Josh Board Dec. 22, 2009 @ 10:58 a.m.

Ya know what? I think that's exactly what it was that someone commented on. I just remembered the story as a gold steeple.

Yeah, I figured helicopters were only used in movies for things like that, or prison breaks. But have to wonder, how would someone steal that gold leafed statue if they didn't have a 'copter?


Josh Board Dec. 22, 2009 @ 8:55 p.m.

Update: they got the sign back, but the story didn't say how they found it or if it was turned back in or what.


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