British teens arrested on suspicion of stealing Auschwitz artefacts
search

The latest Jewish News

Read this week’s digital edition

Click Here

British teens arrested on suspicion of stealing Auschwitz artefacts

The infamous gates of Auschwitz
The infamous gates of Auschwitz
Auschwitz
Auschwitz

Two British teenagers have been arrested at the Auschwitz museum on suspicion of stealing items that belonged to prisoners held at the concentration camp during the Second World War, Polish police said.

The 17-year-old boys were spotted acting suspiciously yesterday afternoon at the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum in southern Poland.

A fragment of hair clippers, spoons, some buttons and two pieces of glass were found on the pair during a body search, after they were apprehended in warehouse number five – known as Canada – where the belongings of the arrivals were seized during the Holocaust.

The pair are being held in police custody, awaiting a decision. They could face up to 10 years in prison if they are found guilty.

Polish police said they were arrested for carrying out activities related to the misappropriation of objects that represent special cultural importance, to the detriment of the museum.

Holocaust Educational Trust Chief Executive Karen Pollock said: “This is absolutely shocking and shows gross disregard to the memory of the Holocaust. Every single artefact found at Auschwitz-Birkenau tells a story of the more than a million people who were ruthlessly murdered by the Nazis there and this incident serves to show why our work is crucial now more than ever.

“We have a duty to educate the next generation to prevent ignorance and hate, and in over 15 years of organising for thousands of British teenagers to visit Auschwitz-Birkenau, we have never known of such an incident. We would gladly work with these young boys to ensure they understand the implications of their actions although this is now a matter for the police.”

A spokeswoman at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office said: “We are in contact with the Polish authorities and stand ready to provide consular assistance.”

Visitors have tried to steal artefacts as souvenirs from the museum in the past.

In 2010, a Swedish man was jailed for organising the theft of the Arbeit Macht Frei (Work Makes You Free) sign from the entry gate of Auschwitz.

The Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum was founded in 1947 and has over 80,000 British visitors each year.

Support your Jewish community. Support your Jewish News

Thank you for helping to make Jewish News the leading source of news and opinion for the UK Jewish community. Today we're asking for your invaluable help to continue putting our community first in everything we do.

Unlike other Jewish media, we do not charge for content. That won’t change. Because we are free, we rely on advertising to cover our costs. This vital lifeline, which has dropped in recent years, has fallen further due to coronavirus.

For as little as £5 a month you can help sustain the vital work we do in celebrating and standing up for Jewish life in Britain.

Jewish News holds our community together and keeps us connected. Like a synagogue, it’s where people turn to feel part of something bigger. It also proudly shows the rest of Britain the vibrancy and rich culture of modern Jewish life.

You can make a quick and easy one-off or monthly contribution of £5, £10, £20 or any other sum you’re comfortable with.

100% of your donation will help us continue celebrating our community, in all its dynamic diversity...

Engaging

Being a community platform means so much more than producing a newspaper and website. One of our proudest roles is media partnering with our invaluable charities to amplify the outstanding work they do to help us all.

Celebrating

There’s no shortage of oys in the world but Jewish News takes every opportunity to celebrate the joys too, through projects like Night of Heroes, 40 Under 40 and other compelling countdowns that make the community kvell with pride.

Pioneering

In the first collaboration between media outlets from different faiths, Jewish News worked with British Muslim TV and Church Times to produce a list of young activists leading the way on interfaith understanding.

Campaigning

Royal Mail issued a stamp honouring Holocaust hero Sir Nicholas Winton after a Jewish News campaign attracted more than 100,000 backers. Jewish Newsalso produces special editions of the paper highlighting pressing issues including mental health and Holocaust remembrance.

Easy access

In an age when news is readily accessible, Jewish News provides high-quality content free online and offline, removing any financial barriers to connecting people.

Voice of our community to wider society

The Jewish News team regularly appears on TV, radio and on the pages of the national press to comment on stories about the Jewish community. Easy access to the paper on the streets of London also means Jewish News provides an invaluable window into the community for the country at large.

We hope you agree all this is worth preserving.

read more:
comments