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Negligence Investigation Dropped


The office of the procurator in Cracow has dropped its investigation into any possible negligence by the Auschwitz-Birkenau State Museum administration. The investigation was opened after the theft of the Arbeit macht frei sign over the gate at the site of the Auschwitz-Birkenau Nazi German concentration camp and extermination center.

“We have not found any trace of criminal negligence,” said Bogusława Marcinkowska, spokesperson for the office of the Regional Procurator in Cracow. The office determined that, on the day of the theft, the security measures at the Museum were fully operational and in compliance with plans approved by the Małopolska Województwo Police Command.

The theft took place on December 18, 2009. The office of the procurator opened an investigation to identify those responsible. There was a separate investigation to determine whether there were any irregularities in the security measures taken by the Museum. This latter investigation has now been dropped.

The police found the sign and arrested the thieves three days later. The 100,000 zloty reward offered by the Museum after consultations with the Ministry of Culture and National Heritage played a role in the arrests. After the theft, the Museum director ordered a thorough review of security procedures, which is still ongoing.

At present, a replica of the sign is in place at the Auschwitz gate. Conservation work is going on to restore the original appearance of the historical sign, which was cut into three pieces. After consultations with the International Auschwitz Council, the Museum director will decide whether or not to place the original sign over the gate again.

"Arbeit macht Frei" inscription in the conservation section at the Auschwitz Memorial
"Arbeit macht Frei"...