Art theft makes a certain sense because of the money involved but no one is certain why thieves stole the sign over the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland. The sign, which reads Arbeit Mach Frei (work sets you free), hung over the main entrance to the former Nazi death camp Auschwitz Birkenau, in Oswiecim, southern Poland. The 16-foot sign which weighs 90 pounds was stolen by thieves who reportedly snuck in through a gap in a wall, grabbed the sign and cut through barbed wire to get away. A replica has already been bolted into place. Although the sign is a painful reminder of a terrible time in history, according to CBS News, the theft is condemned as sacrilege by survivors of the holocaust.
An AP report says the sign was unscrewed on one side and torn off on the other. It is believed that the thieves used a ladder to remove the sign and then carried it away and eventually loaded it onto a vehicle. Police have launched a manhunt with criminal investigators and a search dog.
The question of why someone would do this seems to be on everyone's mind. Could it be a prank? A political statement? The work camp has seen minor acts of vandalism before including graffiti and camps have been targets of neo-Nazi vandalism before.
UPDATE: The sign has been recovered but it was cut into pieces. Five men have been arrested.