US man charged with trying to steal item from Auschwitz

March 31, 2019 - 10:14 am

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — A police official in Poland says an American visitor to the former Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp attempted to steal a metal part of the rail tracks where prisoners were unloaded.

Malgorzata Jurecka, a police spokeswoman in the southern Polish town of Oswiecim, which was under German occupation during World War II, said Sunday that the 37-year-old man has been charged with attempted theft of an item of cultural importance. The crime can be punished with up to 10 years in prison.

Jurecka said the man admitted his guilt.

The memorial site has faced theft and vandalism in recent years. The most dramatic case was the 2009 theft of the sign with the Nazi slogan "Arbeit Macht Frei" ("Work Will Set You Free") at the death camp's main gate. It was later found cut into pieces.

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