Poland to ask Sweden for help over theft of Auschwitz signPoland will formally seek Sweden’s help in investigating the theft of the “Arbeit Macht Frei” (“Work Sets You Free”) sign from the Auschwitz memorial, confirming that Polish authorities suspect a Swedish link in the crime.Published: 7:00AM GMT 30 Dec 2009Boguslawa Marcinkowska, a spokeswoman for Krakow prosecutors, said her office would send a formal request for help to the Swedish Justice Ministry in Stockholm.Polish media have been reporting that the theft was commissioned by a collector living in Sweden, but investigators have not confirmed that.Auschwitz: The 16-foot sign was stolen from the Auschwitz memorial museum site in the southern Polish town of Oswiecim. Photo: AFP
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Earlier this week allegations concerning who ordered the theft, and why, surfaced in Swedish newspaper reports after the former leader of a Swedish Nazi group claimed that it had been stolen to order for a collector in England, France or the United States.”We had a person who was ready to pay millions for the sign,” the unnamed source told Aftonbladet, Sweden’sbiggest-selling daily newspaper.The Nazi source said that the money would pay for an attack on the home of Fredrik Reinfeldt, the Swedish Prime Minister who has held the rotating presidency of the European Union for the last six months, and on the Swedish Foreign Ministry, the paper reported.The sign was stolen earlier this month and found two days later cut into three pieces. Police have arrested five men whom they described as common criminals and not neo-Nazis who likely stole the sign on a commission from abroad.The theft occurred one day after Germany announced that it would contribute $87 million to the new Auschwitz- Birkenau Foundation, which earlier this year launched a campaign to raise $172 million to preserve the remains of the death camp as a memorial and museum.There are about 450 buildings and remains of buildings at the site, including the ruins of gas chambers, as well as 80,000 pairs of shoes of victims and 3,800 suitcases, according to a report by the German broadcaster Deutsche Welle.Some 1.1 million people, including about 1 million Jews, were murdered at Auschwitz.