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Poland charges three more men with theft of Auschwitz sign

Polish prosecutors have charged a Swedish man and two Poles for their part in the theft last year of a historic sign at the Nazi death camp of Auschwitz.

The 'Arbeit Macht Frei' sign

Five Poles and one Swede have been charged in total

Three men have been charged for their parts in stealing the historic "Arbeit Macht Frei" (Work Sets You Free) sign from the Auschwitz Nazi death camp.

Swede Anders Hoegstroem and Pole Marcin A. were charged with incitement to commit theft of the sign, which is considered a relic of significant cultural value. Both have pleaded guilty to the charges.

A second Polish man, Andrzej S. was charged with participating in the theft, but did not admit guilt. Prosecutors said the sign was found quickly thanks to Andrzej's cooperation.

Prosecutors are recommending sentences of between 28 and 32 months in prison for the three men. Under a plea bargain, Anders Hoegstroem will serve a 32 month sentence in Sweden.

Anders Hoegstroem and his defense lawyer in court

Anders Hoegstroem (r.) was extradited to Poland in April

Motivated by money

The sign was stolen on December 18 last year and found three days later in the countryside after being cut into three pieces for transportation.

Prosecutors said the two Poles were motivated by money. H Hoegstroem, a former neo-Nazi leader said he planned to hand the sign over to a Nazi memorabilia collector.

Five Poles were accused of the theft, and three have already been convicted and are now serving sentences of between 18 and 30 months.

Polish prosecutor Janusz Hnatko suggested there was another Swede involved in the theft, thought to be the mastermind behind the plot. He did not elaborate or release the identity of this Swede.

Author: Catherine Bolsover (dpa, AP, AFP)
Editor: Nancy Isenson

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