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Infamous ‘Work will set you free’ sign at Dachau concentration camp stolen

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An iron gate with the infamous sign “Arbeit macht frei” (“Work will set you free”) at the former Nazi concentration camp at Dachau in southern Germany has been stolen, police said Sunday.

The theft of the historic wrought iron gate, which measures two metres (yards) by one metre, apparently happened overnight, police said in a statement.

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The site has no surveillance system, but is monitored by security guards and the theft apparently took place between their rounds of the camp, said police, who have appealed for any possible witnesses.

The head of the foundation of memorial sites in the Bavaria region and an elected official, Karl Freller, called the theft an “ignoble act.”

The Dachau camp, located a few kilometres (miles) from Munich, opened in 1933, less than two months after Adolf Hitler became German chancellor. It was initially set up as a place to incarcerate political prisoners before becoming a death camp during World War II, killing more than 41,000 Jews.

The camp was liberated by US troops on April 29, 1945. Today some 800,000 visitors from around the world visit the camp each year.

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The same “Work will set you free” sign at the Auschwitz-Birkenau camp in Poland was stolen in 2009, sparking a global outcry.

The mastermind of that theft, Swedish neo-Nazi Anders Hoegstroem, was jailed for two-and-a-half years.

The metal sign was eventually recovered cut up into three pieces, leading museum officials to display a replica above the entrance until it was restored in 2011.

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… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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