I fully understand the political implications of stealing the Auschwitz gate sign that cruelly promised more than a million soon-to-be-slaughtered victims that hard work would set them free. And I understand the twisted gleeful symbolism that Neo-Nazis would embrace if one of them hung this sign in their dorm room.
But there is something deeply ironic about Jews worrying about protecting the original logo of the top Nazi deathcamp. For me, some of the most stirring scenes in World War II newsreels are when the US Army blows up giant swastikas decorating the top of Nazi buildings.
When/if the Polish police recover the Arbeit Macht Frei sign, they should leave it on the ground for visitors to urinate on it.
And as for the Polish security officers “guarding” the camp, it’s a damn shame they weren’t working as the original Auschwitz guards.
From the Times of London:
“It seems that a gang of perhaps three people unscrewed the sign between three o’clock and five o’clock on Friday morning,” said Dariusz Nowak, a police spokesman. “They must have used a ladder and had a car waiting for them.”
“Police said that they were reviewing footage from a surveillance camera that overlooks the entrance gate and the road beyond, but declined to say whether the crime was recorded. The sign appears to have been dismantled in six minutes flat — corresponding to the time it takes for the museum guards to change their shifts.”
Also fascinating how the Times calls them “Museum Guards,” like they’re sauntering past Dorothy’s red ruby slippers at the Smithsonian.
As I discovered when I was in Poland, people quickly forget the difference between a deathcamp and a tourist attraction.
UPDATE: Sign has been recovered, but was cut in three pieces. Police say the thieves were common garden-variety thieves “commissioned” by a foreigner.
CHILLING FLASHBACK: Check out this recently discovered photograph of young female SS groupies pretending to be sad when they ran out of blueberries at snack time. Apparently, their boyfriends’ deathcamp jobs didn’t seem too upsetting to these people.
From the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum:
“A full-page spread of six photographs entitled “Hier gibt es Blaubeeren” (Here there are blueberries) shows Höcker passing out bowls of fresh blueberries to the young women sitting on a fence. When the girls finish theatrically eating their blueberries for the camera, one girl poses with fake tears and an inverted bowl. Only miles away on the very same day, 150 prisoners (Jews and non-Jews) arrived on a transport to Auschwitz. The SS selected 21 men and 12 women for work, and killed the remaining members of the transport in the gas chambers.”